The hospital corridor is stuffy and the air has an undertone of bleach. The walls are magnolia and are scraped in places from the hundreds of trolleys that have bumped into them. The pictures on the walls are cheap benign prints of uplifting scenes and above the double doors are large blue plastic signs with the areas of the hospital that lie ahead. I am a mother now. A mother to a beautiful little baby girl. Tiny fingers curl around my pinky. I watch the newborn peer through brand new eyes at what must be such a strange world after life in the womb. Her legs kick in a tiny jagged motion, looking for that resistance they are used to I guess, but finding nothing but air. I wonder if that's unsettling or a relief, it must have been pretty cramped in there. When she stretches her hands barely rise above her head and I think of how strange we'd all look if we kept those body proportions as we grew. I know I can pick her up if I want to, she's my daughter, but I'm scared to break her. She's such a doll. Then she begins to fret and cry, everyone tells me how annoying that's going to be, but it's so cute I almost cry. This is a new person, and I'm already filling up with love for her.
A nurse enters my room with a clipboard in her hand, a blank paper attached to it.
“Hello,” she begins, smiling soon afterward.
“Hi,” I barely manage out. The pain shooting throughout my body now.
After monitoring and administering medications, intravenous fusions and, checking on my baby, she leaves the room. I let out the breath, I didn’t even realize I was holding up until now.
The door to my room slightly stands open and with a lot of difficulties I get up to close it. Before the door has been fully closed, I see a woman my heart says, I know. But my brain, my brain is just not ready to let out who. Her eyes are the very same color as my baby girl and my mother : blue. Her jawline is defined in the same way as mine and her hair, they’re like mine too: jet black. My heart picks up its pace as my mind gets lost into the thought of how and from where do I know the woman? My mind gets diverted and my concentration breaks as I hear my baby girl crying, she’s maybe hungry.
I pick the name ‘Mia’ for my daughter. This name is very close to not only my heart but to Mom’s heart as well. Mom lost her first baby when the child was only one-year-old. She grieved for years, until I was born. The baby’s name was ‘Mia’. Mom never really forgot her. She’s always there: in her heart, on her mind, her name playing like a playful smile on Mom’s lips every time, all the time. And thus, today by naming my daughter after my lost sister, I return a piece, she lost years ago back to my mother. Even though, I know in no way will my Mia be able to compensate for Mom’s Mia but she will surely be able to lessen the grief and the pain my mother suffers from, every day .
There is a soft knock on my door. After tremendous tries, I push myself upwards, trying to sit up a bit. The person on the doorstep is a woman. She clears her throat and it is when she speaks that I realize that she has got the same voice as my mother. I have been crying for the past thirty minutes now. “Siya stop. Please," she has been crying along with me too. I can’t really thank my God for what he has bestowed me with. Not really. I have finally gotten my sister back.
So my sight hadn’t been wrong, the blue eyes and that well-defined jawline was definitely a hint to something. Wasn’t it? How…? I try to say but the words get lost between the never-ending cries. I want to talk to her. She’s not dead like my mother told me. She’s alive. Sitting right in front of my eyes. I want to ask her about how has she been? How did she get lost? Who has she been living with? Is she married? Does she have children? There are just so many questions but just not the right words to start with. Mia is back. Mia is back. Mia is back. And I can’t thank my God enough for that.
Mia and I have been talking for about an hour now. My mom, however, is nowhere to be seen. How will she feel? Does she know that Mia was here all along but just far from our eyes? Mia has been humming a soft lullaby to my baby while talking to me. She definitely got that from our Dad. Mia’s back is toward me and thus, I take this as a golden opportunity to have a detailed look at my sister now. Her black hair falls in loose waves, tumbling down her back. Peeking out from her flat denim jacket is the ugliest striped suit I’ve ever seen. Without giving it a second thought, I say that out aloud. Mia turns around, the confusion on her face open and visible. “Huh? My striped suit is ugly?” she makes a babyface. I nod. We stare at each other for some time and then burst out laughing in unison. I have never been the type of girl who could connect easily to others: my academic life has always been a struggle. But now being with Mia, everything feels easy, everything falls into place.
“So, you didn’t tell me,” I say as Mia puts my baby back into her cot.
“What didn't I tell you?”
“Mia,” I say for a millionth time now. “How did you get lost?”
“Oh, that…” her voice gets lost as the light on her face suddenly dims. “Can we please not talk about that?” she makes the baby face again.
“No, please. This is for the very first and the very last time you’ll tell me about that. I promise that I won’t bring it up again. Ever.” I smile pretending as if my smile will somehow lift up her spirits.
She lets out a rattled sigh and begins. “Siya, my other mother had always been good with me,” her lips quiver on the word ‘mother.’ “She never really let me feel that I wasn’t her real daughter or that she wasn’t my real mother. Our bond… our bond was something just so magical. Just so extra special but she did just one wrong deed. Just one,” and with that she raises her downcast eyes. The sparkle that had been there a while ago, is now gone. “She always told me that she had adopted me from some agency, but that wasn't…that wasn’t the truth, “ the tears that she had been holding back for sometime, flow freely now. “She hadn’t adopted me from some agency, Siya. She… she had kidnapped me.” I hear a gasp and my mind tricks me into believing that it was me who gasped. I move my head and it is at that time when I’m looking into my Mom’s mascara-smeared, teary eyes. She whispers the name 'Mia' and the next thing I know, she's down on the ground.