The beginning…before the beginning…

Prologue

Seven-year-old Helena was lying under the Jacaranda tree in the back yard. Her mind was wandering slowly with her thoughts changing shape like the clouds overhead. The one she was thinking now was about when she was waiting for her baby sister to arrive

She and Mummy were sitting on the back doorsteps in the last light of the setting summer sun. They were singing nursery rhymes and playfully changing the words so that the rhymes no longer made sense. She had her head on mummy’s tummy just in case her sister wanted to talk to her.

Suddenly Mummy let out a deep howl and clutched at Helena’s arm. Her belly moved violently, sharply changing shape so that Helena’s head was jerked from mummy’s lap. She had been so frightened. She could still feel Mummy’s nails biting into her arm as another wail escaped her lips. She began to cry, but just when she thought Mummy would never stop moaning Mummy had put her arms around her.

‘Wow, that was a somersault and a half’ she said through gritted teeth, rubbing the arm which she had held so tightly. ‘But we got through it didn’t we Lena?’

Having Mummy’s arms around her holding her tight, now that everything was alright was the best part of that memory.

That was last year. She didn’t get to see her baby sister and she never really felt like everything was alright again. No one would tell her about her sister. Where had she gone? Why didn’t she come home with Mummy from the hospital? Did I do something to frighten her and send her away?

Now she was always uncertain and worried. Mummy had been worried too. Helena tried to go back to the thoughts of Mummy’s arms around her but the clouds above sailing away reminded her of her baby sister who didn’t come home.

She would have a baby brother soon and she would be careful to make sure she didn’t do anything to upset him. That wouldn’t be hard. He would be a boy, beautiful and warm and cuddly. She would love him, but she often thought about her sister who didn’t come home.

Maybe she just didn’t like me?

Well if I ever bumped into her, I wouldn’t like her either, she said out loud.