I am woken by the sound of a crying child.
It is not normal crying, it is a sobbing, wrenching cry.
It is calling "Mummy, mummy".
I am mummy, but it is not my child.
It is sobbing and gasping,
I try to listen for words to reassure,
him or me I am not sure.
At one and the same time I want to hear and I do not.
I want to hear that he is being cared for.
I want to hear that he is not suffering.
I want to hear that he is not being abused.
But I do not want to hear.
I hold my breath, I cannot hear the words.
He is calling mummy, so many of us answer to that name.
I want to hold out my arms to him, beckon him in, comfort him.
All of you would.
And I think of my own beautiful boy, sound asleep in another home, peacefully asleep with his Granny on guard.
How I need to hug him now.
There is a boy next door, for whom sleep is impossible.
There is a boy next door who needs to feel loved.
There is a mother next door who does not reply, for a very long time.
Her words are harsh.
"Shut the f**k up" she shouts as he continues to sob.
How could she?