If anyone ever does

The young woman’s been living there for five years now.  There have been some big changes, and some puzzling ones (to anyone watching the comings and goings, if anyone ever does).

She arrived with a baby, who turned into a sweet little head standing up to the window, peering over the sill, grinning and waving at the bin-man, the window-cleaner, and anyone else who happened to be passing.   At that point, she started to show she was expecting another one.  Sometimes you could hear her tired voice trying to be as much of an attentive mother to her first-born as she had ever been.

Then the new baby arrived, a wee princess in her red car seat, whose colicky screams the whole street came to recognise.  One afternoon, she emerged from her house pushing the roaring baby, watching the toddling boy, looking all the time as though she was in a permanent, sleep-deprived daze.  The boy tripped and fell, gashing his knees.  The baby’s cries were drowned out by her big brother’s howls.  Their mother was close to tears herself, until a concerned neighbour took them in to her house and calmed all three down.

About four months after this, two or three cars regularly parked outside the house, but the mother was rarely seen.  Older women, and sometimes younger, took the brother and sister out for walks, but it was never their mother.  The blinds in one room upstairs were often closed over in the afternoon.  The only time that you were guaranteed to see her was every morning when she stood with her children at the biggest window and waved their daddy off to work.  (That sight would have been a relief to anyone watching her, if anyone did).

As winter turned to spring and then to early summer, the cars stopped coming as often, and hope started to build again.  One sunny day, out came the baby in her red buggy, the confidently walking boy, and the now smiling mother.  She was out, she was walking her children, she was well again.  That scene alone would also have told a truly happy story, (if anyone had stopped to hear it, if anyone ever does).

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