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ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7     Blesok no. 94 | volume XVII | January-February, 2014



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                     Peer-reviewed journal
Blesok no. 94January-February, 2014
Prose

Radio Baby

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p. 1
Deborah Kay Davies

I’m pretty sure mother is going mad. There’s only me to notice. Now the new baby is snuffling in the small bedroom on the top floor, well away from us. I stand and listen to the baby from the bottom of the stairs. Mother says to turn on the radio whenever the baby starts to wail. She says the baby doesn’t mean anything when it makes that sound, just turn up the radio, for God’s sake. If she suspects I’m moving to the foot of the stairs to listen, she calls me back and scolds me like I’m a six-year-old. I’m thinking, perhaps I am; perhaps that’s what I want to be. When I tell her the baby needs her, that he’s hungry and cold, she gives me the look she used to when I was little and had been caught out in a lie. There is a perfectly good explanation, she says calmly; the child is tuning in ahead of me.
    I caught a glimpse of the baby yesterday, when mother arrived home. We weren’t expecting her for another two days; she discharged herself ahead of time, phoning for a taxi, so father and Tamar were still at gran’s. Me on my own for the first time. I had plans to clean the place up, maybe buy some flowers, at least get a meal ready, before she got out. I was in the bath, my hair thick with shampoo, when there was a knock on the front door. I stayed where I was; there are so many weird people calling these days, and I had no reason to expect anybody I knew. The knocking didn’t stop, so I got out of the bath and ran to the half-open landing window and peered down. There was mother leaning against the porch wall. I could see her thin blonde hair flying around her head and the pink seam of her scalp, like a plastic baby- doll’s skull. Under her arm she was holding a bundle; on the ground a big blue sack was sliding sideways. As I stood there with the chilled shampoo-froth snaking down my shoulders, I was so tempted to leave the door unanswered. I knew when that door was opened anything could happen. So I stood for a while watching, as mother shifted the bundle onto her hip and tipped forward to rest her forehead on the door.
    In the


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