The Little Guitar
Chapter one, of the birth of Edgar Raine
Edgar Raine was born in the most fortuitous of circumstances that any boy could hope to be born in. He was born on Christmas Day itself and it was a warm and sunny Tuesday with not a cloud in the sky or wave on the ocean of the little suburb of Subiaco in Perth on the western side of the gigantic landmass of Australia, which sat comfortably below the equator of the situation known as Earth to all who dwelt in that land and spoke the language of English. He was a small baby however and upon further inspection it was discovered that he had a missing finger on his left hand and that had his mother at a fix and she did not know whether to touch him or not in that first hour of life and it had his father at a disgruntled look and inspection of those little digits and whenever the doctors weren't looking he would give those digits a rough little rub to see if a finger would pop out or not, and his mother would be rapt with attention at the possibility of some excitement or a reason for the baby to be taken off her hands, for what mother could want a baby so ill born.
“What a terrible way to spend Christmas. I cannot see the reason from the madness,” spoke Toby the father. “I will be hated at work for this and no boy will ever leave him alone. I shall have to punish it out of him, get him used to the rigours of life a little so that he sees.”
“The little brat doesn't think that he will get away with it, does he?” Maisie looked at the small bundle of cloth and fat in her arms and stared into the red sleeping face of her new born.
The poor boy Edgar was sleeping peacefully and unknowing of what kind of a life he should lead and unaware of all the joys that life could bring. He was mumbling and frothing at the mouth and producing all those baby eccentricities that they use to entice parent into a sense of longing but they were having no effect and the parents talked on, debating their circumstances, eyes downcast onto their problems and laps as if they solemnly plotted a murder.
“Just think of it,” spoke the father, scratching his long beared drearily. “If that boy wishes to be left handed or if we let him onto Fred's game then he won't even be able to ply the keys right or hold the pencil in his hands. Do you think that there is an operation to control those sorts of things? Do you suppose any prosthetics?” Toby was a hunchback of a man, and fat in girth. He had a scowl upon his face and fat brown lips that had spent too much time in the sun so that they were cracked from weather. It was uncomfortable for him to talk without an impediment. He was looking at the baby with a bullish look and if Edgar could have decerned then he would be scared of being bowled over by this man at every given turn.
Maisie was a tall woman who looked like spiderwebs were in her hair and she smelt odd like she only ate spinach in her whole life. She had sweaty hair right now and it was plastered about her face and she was in evident pain. “Won't you shut up, I'm dealing with the child.” She was touching its face, inspecting its inner lips and wiggling its nose, plucking at its hair and muttering curses under her breath. She was a witchly woman and she was acting like a chicken scratching around in the earth for food, pecking here and there, and taking swipes at the dirt with her talons. “I cannot tell, but I think it will be an ugly child, just by this missing finger. With things like that come certain complications.” She lay back and let herself droop on the pillow. It had been a small labour time, but she still felt drained like she was ready to fall asleep. “Call the doctor, ask him to take the baby from me, I wish to go to sleep.”
So Toby lurched out of his chair with a scrape, the baby started crying, and Maisie started shushing it as best she knew how with her haggard voice ripped raw from all her raging.
Outside the room there were the usual condiments of a hospital walkway. The hall was ice bare and there were large light panels on the ceiling of the hall incase a patient would like to arouse attention with their buzzer. There was a drink dispenser in a little alcove of the wall not far from the doorway of Mrs Raine's room and there was a chip packet dispenser. Toby went in his wobbling way across to the chip packet dispenser and put a coin in for a packet and then he meandered along the hall looking for the toilets. Meanwhile Maisie's parents entered the room in a state of distraughtment and sat down on the chairs provided. Mrs Flinn dove into the bedside and began weeping as Mr Flinn began a nap and closed his eyes to all the natural world, angrier than he'd felt in a long time about all this misfortune.
“Oh dear, oh dear, how will you cope child. What will this boy make of himself?” She was sobbing and desperately clasping at her daughters sheets and looking wonderingly into her eyes as a mouse might look into the depths of another's over the placement of a mousetrap, each wondering who might make the first move. “It simply must be adopted out.”
Maisie looked humbly over her freshly made parcel. “Oh, I don't know,” she began. “Perhaps this child is just the type of thing that the family needs. A thing to discuss whilst backs are turned. Yes, that's a refined way of putting it.”
The woman Mrs Flinn looked over the child petting its head. “Well, we can discuss the parameters at Christmas dinner. You are coming, aren't you? We had it postponed.”
“Yes, but we could not afford presents this year, we were too much in a lovers flurry at getting the baby room ready. I had a wall painted blue with clouds and Toby ordered in a nice blanket. We already have the baby crib,” said Maisie.
“Oh, are you sure you can manage?” Asked Mrs Flinn.
“They've done it before, they can do it again,” said Mr Flinn from his corner gruffly. “There's no point talking about adoption when no one will want the child.” Like always, Mr Flinn was one step behind.
“Well, if such a thing were to happen, they would get what they were given and that would be that,” said Mrs Flinn and Maisie beside her nodded with a humph.
That was when the doctors came flooding into the room. Everyone was ordered out, the baby was taken, and Maisie went to sleep and Toby went home. And it was over for a day.
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