Loss

The bleeding starts on a Wednesday morning. We are sitting at the counter, and he is drinking coffee and I am drinking orange juice, and through the window we can see the breaking waves. We are drinking and watching and talking, and if I let myself drink and watch and talk I can forget how I am coming unstitched in my guts. After an hour we get up from the counter and I go to the bathroom, and I know I will see it there, the red smear, but I go anyway and I wipe anyway and I breathe in and out anyway. I hold the paper in my hand and I look for the window that will show me the sea and I stand there for minutes or days, and the patchworked paper looks back at me.

After the nurse leaves, I go outside and sit on a cobbled wall. The stones are cold. I call the only number I can remember. "Mum." She breathes at the end of the line. "Mum, the baby died." Minutes pass between us in a dull

Contains possible triggers I had another grandfather. His name was Dean. He died before I was born, in 1980. Dad always told me that he had died of lung cancer. Upon reflection, his story was changeable. "He had a kidney thing." or "He had a brain haemorrhage." I imagined what my life might have been like if he hadn't died, if I had had two sets of grandparents instead. In my six-year-old imagination, Grandpa - that is what my older cousins had called him - and I played football in the park and went to the movies (he always let me get a Choc Top). In my ten-year-old imagination, he listened to me talk about how annoying my little sister was (he always paid attention to me).

I arrive at the clinic and feel the blood drain from my face. I want to be done with it, to feel relief and freedom, and I hate myself for it. Gaz has been agitated with me from the early morning, and to not feel his warm hands around me exacerbates how empty I feel. This is the third time I've been to the clinic in the past month. I take my patient information form and try sitting in a different corner of the waiting room. I am crippled by terror and I make a desperate call to another clinic. - Please, I'm desperate, do you have any places today? - I'm sorry, I don't think we do. - I'm already at the other clinic and I just can't do it, help me. - Come in at 1 and we'll see if we can squeeze you in. I run from the clinic to Gaz, who is sitting on the ground next to my car with a cigarette. He is lit up like a bushfire. He doesn't look at me. My phone rings. - Hello, we've had a cancellation. Can you come in now? - Yes.