“Birth is the sudden opening of a window, through which you look out upon a stupendous prospect.”
- William MacNeile Dixon
A familiar gray light filled the room through small slat windows near the ceiling. The sounds, although familiar given the current situation in her country, were more unnerving than usual and caused her to shiver under her heavy wool clothing. She pulled the outer layer closer and watched the midwife stroke her daughter’s hair as the young girl bent in half over another contraction. She wished she could bear the pain for her. Even knowing what the results would be could not relieve a mother’s anguish at seeing her daughter in pain. She felt the need to walk and paced back and forth happy that from this angle she was temporarily invisible to her daughter who would most certainly find this action annoying. For a few moments, she attempted to burn off some of the nervousness and then embraced a hand to offer support through yet another contraction. The midwife had given permission for Therese to begin pushing through them and she heard the intensified pain in her daughter’s screams.
The house shook as another bomber wing raided the skies overhead and the family huddled closer around the young girl attempting to give them another soul to love and cherish. With the support of her family, the midwife, and another long push a scream broke through the silence; this time one that caused all to look relieved and happy. The girl cried out for her baby as her body curled over itself for another three pushes, providing the baby boy full access to his new world. She was so ecstatic to see and hold her new grandson, she needed to escape the confines of the dark, damp basement and take in what little light remained above. Climbing the stairs from basement to main floor, then to the second floor, and finally to the attic, she found the small ladder that her husband had placed in the corner for the chimney sweep. Seeing it, she stopped momentarily and wished that the man she had loved for so many years were here to experience this joyous occasion. She said a few words expressing this to the man as if he were standing right before her, then continued with her intended action. Grabbing the ladder, she headed for the small attic window overhead.
The window was like a small round shutter, hinged in the middle. She pushed it open, so that it hung perpendicular to the floor and looked out at the American Bombers overhead. The sky was gray and dusty, light hit miniscule pieces of debris that floated slowly toward the ground, causing it to appear more like glitter and confetti celebrating what had just happened three floors below. The planes, now directly overhead sent the fragments spinning out of control and filled her ears with the loud buzz of their engines. She imagined her grandson flying a plane like that someday -- the mental image was so clear, so life -- like that she knew that it was not a dream, but a premonition of things to come.