The neighbours brought the baby home three weeks ago. It’s screamed every night since.
“It’s not even stopping for breath,” You say.
“Are the walls made of tissue?” He says.
When they walk past on the street, the baby is always silent although you could have sworn you heard it crying minutes before. Never sleeping. Just quiet. They smile and make small talk. A girl they tell you. Named her after my mother, the New Dad says. The New Mum keeps on smiling until it looks like it hurts.
It’s fantastic. A new part of our life starting. Just so exciting.
The New Mum’s teeth start to shake.
“I swear she’s getting louder,” You say the next night.
“Not possible,” He says. But you know she is.
“Aren’t the parents supposed to be the ones who can’t sleep?”
You drop a gift off for the baby. You considered a hotel voucher and a bottle of tequila but you bought the yellow dungarees with the ducks on them instead.
“How is she through the night?” You ask, although you already know.
They pause (because they know you know). The New Dad weaves through the well-worn path of mess from toys, clothes and a discarded life. “She’s getting better.” The New Mum stares into her tea like the cup said it.
You nod and pray that it was true. “I’d better go. Let you take advantage of the down time while you get the chance.” In the Moses basket at the other side of the room, soft breath that couldn’t possibly come from the same beast as the crying did sounds almost cute.
“It’s like she knows when we close our eyes,” The New Mum mumbles. The New Dad shots her a look. She should flinch but she keeps staring into her tea like she’s hoping it will swallow her.
You wrap the pillow around your head that night to block out the sound. “We should say something.”
He opens his eyes. “Like what? Gag her?”
“Maybe ask if they need a hand.”
“You can’t be serious.”
“Are the windows open? She can’t possibly be that loud.”
“Go and check the vent in the bathroom. Plug it shut.” He rolls over.
So, you roll out of bed and walk to the bathroom. But it’s not coming from the bathroom. You go to get a glass of water from the kitchen and that’s when you notice that it’s coming from the front of the house. Closer and closer to the door until you swear you can feel it thundering against your ribs.
You open the door. The little girl stops crying as she looks up on you from the front step, bundled in a blanket with her yellow dungarees on underneath.
Originally posted on my WordPress blog in 2017