Hes' lay in my arms, gurgling quietly. Kat had left her again this morning. She'd left us with a few bottles of milk and flown out of the door down to the library. It was 6pm and she still wasn't home. I'd called a few times but I'd only got her machine. Bob had officially moved out and was sleeping back at his flat. He was due to arrive with Ray any minute for dinner. Ellie and Will had finally left the house, they were spending the night at the cinema and wouldn't be back till late.
The back door was flown open and Kat struggled through it as the wind pulled her back. “Hey.” She patted down her hair a little and shook off her jacket, which was casually thrown onto a chair. “Good day?” she pulled a few books from her bag and took Hessy from my arms. “All-right I guess, how was the library?” She nodded and went toward the stove.
“Smells good Don.” “Did Hes' finish her milk?”
“Yeah, I had to give her some formula.”
“I told you she wasn't to have that stuff.”I pulled at a thread in my jeans uncomfortably.
“There wasn't any left and she started crying. I wouldn't have done it but you weren't back yet.”
“I'll remember to leave more, next time. I'm going to take her to downstairs”
“Kat?” She turned to face me. “Is everything...?” She stopped me short.
“I'm fine Gerard. I just needed a break. I'm back now. I'm going to take a nap.” She hurried away from the kitchen and we heard the downstairs door open and shut with a bang.
“Gerard. There's something wrong with her and we've all seen it. Bob told me to call the doctor and I reassured him she was okay, but now. Well I'm not so sure she is.” Mom turned to sit beside me. I took her hand. I knew she was right. But how could I make that call? How could anybody do that. She'd hate me. “She'll understand in time, love.” Mom always had been able to read me. I sighed. Downstairs Hessy cried and Mom and I turned to the door. Mom motioned at the hall. I left her to finish dinner and traipsed slowly down the stairs to our basement room. Hester's cries were growing louder and louder and I felt myself accelerate slightly. I threw the door open as the cries became unbearable, shocked at the seen before me.
Kat lay on the bed, Hester at her breast. She was bleeding heavily and Hes' was pulling away from her mother who sat, shocked. I stood, stunned for only seconds before clawing Hes' away from her mothers arms and laying her in her crib. Kat's eyes were cold and empty. She said nothing.
I scrambled in the bathroom for a towel. Wrapping it around Kat's chest, I wiped away some of the blood gingerly from her left breast. She didn't acknowledge me but sat, staring into the dark room. Hes' was silent in her crib and I sat with my back to her, facing her mother. I cupped her face in my hand. “Love, What happened?” She looked me straight in the eye and I saw it. The pain she had been in since Hester's birth. Every-time she'd tried to feed Hes' she'd bled. Every night she'd hurried to put away the simulator and pull Hester to her as I'd enter the room. Every morning she'd left early, several bottles laid out for the day ahead. She couldn't feed her baby. A mother's worst nightmare. A nightmare that would have hit a teenage mother twice as hard as a grown woman. And she'd been tackling it alone. Reality hit me. “The doctor's they'll fix it. Medication or something. We'll sort it.” I pulled her too me. She was still in my arms for a second, the towel loosening and the blood spreading across my own shirt. She was weeping blood and there was nothing I could do about it. I felt a single arm wrap around my back and the sobs shudder against my shoulder. We sat in silence as we both cried.