The throbbing in her back intensifies. It spreads from her lower spine all the way to her shoulders.
Shooting pain, that aches but also brings a strange relief.
Like contractions during labour, coming and going but building in intensity all the time, powerful waves of super strength.
As she nears the women, they stop talking and turn to her.
They are blocking the path, she will have to ask them to move aside.
It is childish, but it is real.
The pain in her back is so intense it prevents her from speaking.
She feels the blood rushing to her head, her heartbeat loud in her ears.
She feels her skin straining on her back, tightening.
She feels as though she will be torn open, just as when her babies were born.
And it is because of this she knows that life is coming.
She lifts her chin, she straightens up, she looks the women directly in the eye, not afraid, not intimidated.
She feels immense power, immense freedom, something these women don’t understand – and how could they?
Their freedom has never been threatened, they have no experience of how effective war is in turning men, women and children to ghosts, in turning the mind into a prison cell, and liberty to a taunting fantasy.
The skin on her back is taut now and she can feel the fabric of her black abaya stretching and stretching.
Then there’s a ripping sound and she feels air on her back.
‘Mama!’ her son says, looking up at her wide-eyed.
Always anxious about what’s next.
She delivered him to freedom but he is still in custody, she sees it in him every day.
Not so much her daughter, who is younger and adapted more easily, though both will forever see all life through the gauze of truth.
The abaya rips completely and she feels a violent surge from behind, as she’s pulled forward.
Her feet leave the ground with the force of it, then land again.
She takes the children with her.
Her son looks fearful, her daughter giggles.
The women with the tennis bags look at her in shock.
Beyond them she sees a lone woman, hurrying away from the school, who stops and smiles, hands to her mouth in surprise and delight.
‘Oh, Mama!’ her little girl whispers, letting go of her hand and circling her.
‘You grew wings! Big beautiful wings!’
Did you hear...
The Woman Who Was Swallowed Up By The Floor? Click here to listen!
The Woman Who Was Fed By A Duck? Click here to listen!
Look out for more Audiograms from Lara Sawalha, actress known for her work on The Hurt Locker and Transformers as well as award-winning comic and actress Aisling Bea and Invictus actress Adjoa Andoh.