10.30 pm, Cork Street
It would’ve looked fake if you’d seen it in a soap opera. Half past ten at night. The car parked on a wide, abandoned street of warehouses and run-down, boarded-up derelicts. The rain hammering on the roof and me sat holding the wheel, my ribcage heaving and sobs wrenching themselves silently and with huge effort from me.
My sister was on the other end of the phone, the other side of the country, desperate to fill the silence with some kind of consoling noises.
You know that moment when a kid has fallen over and hurt themselves? That five to ten seconds when they’re catching their breath to deliver the howl that their brain has texted to their voicebox? I was stuck in that five to ten seconds, and it wasn’t ending. I tried to tell her it was alright, no really, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you all in Sligo, but I couldn’t physically say the words. The almost silent sobs came and kept coming. An instant headache made my brain feel too big for my skull. I was a stream of tears and snot, and the saliva thickened whatever words I did try to get out until they were completely indecipherable.
And that was my second reaction to the birth of my son with Down Syndrome.