Another knock in the middle of the night. Another frantic husband. Another baby, eager to see the world. We calm him, send him home, then my partner and I make preparations. We get on our bicycles and pedal through the night, to a part of town that has become familiar. Even at this hour, there are people milling about in the streets, children screaming out of windows, trash and other unmentionable things littering the ground.
It is an easy birth. No complications, no need for alarm. On our way out, I take something. Nothing special. Just a small souvenir. It won’t be missed in the hubbub of relatives of friends coming and going in the next few days. Maybe it will never be missed at all. When I’m alone in my room, I put it in my secret place, next to the photo of the baby I will never hold again. It will never be enough, but the peace comes over me, as it always does, as I look at my collection.