Waiting…watching…praying. Always praying.
A few feet and a cosmos of emotion separate Maggie and Jim. The plastic box sits between them. Its power is all consuming; it is fear, contained.
Extreme senses fill this cathedral of apprehension. Arid heat. Clinical smells. Harsh fluorescent lights; broken only by UV lamps and crayon-coloured wires. Sounds of pumps and bleeps: intermittently fractured by fear-released, and the crying of others.
Touch is through wires, and needles puncturing his transparent skin.
The incubator is keeping him alive. Yet it is his prison.
Today was supposed to be their wedding day.
In the wheelchair, Maggie looks at Jim. She looks at the priest, administering the Sacrament of the Sick.
They both smile and look at her. Jim holds rings outstretched. Her returned smile is the first for weeks.
They never leave this place. They say the wedding service either side of the box, always touching it. Within it lies salvation, hopes and unsaid dreams.
This was a very personal story.
I got some lovely comments and Tweets (thanks to those people).
I managed to get a Special Mention from the kind judge (thank you).
Ever better news was that Rachael Dunlop won the competition this week – fantastic!