The bleached corridors of Wexford General Hospital's maternity ward seemed emptier than they had before. Corianne had settled in their fifth lap around, but Reilly had carried on. The nurses and other parents would occasionally stop him while he was making his rounds and comment on how precious Corianne was, how happy he must be. He would smile and tell them how she looked like her mamaí — thank God — and how the chubby cheeks she inherited from him looked endearing, rather than swollen like they did on him. But he wouldn't tell them that Catherine had the same chubby cheeks and champagne blonde hair, or how Siobhan had wept over her small body for over an hour. In the midst of lap number twenty-three, Reilly rested on one of the black couches unevenly dispersed around the family room. The walls in here were bright and obnoxious, pink on one wall and green on another. It would be enough to convince the most sleep deprived parent that the last eighteen cups of instant shite had some lasting effect.
'There's my beautiful granddaughter! My, aren't you the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen!'
Rosaleen — Siobhan's mother — rushed to the arm of the chair to gawk at Corianne's face. The fabric on her hot pink tracksuit rustled as she crouched down.
'Jesus, how'd you get in here? I thought visiting hours finished at eight?'
'Oh, was a piece of piss! Some chancer stuck his shoe in the door so he could have a fag and the muppet behind the front desk was asleep. Glad to know security is tight here.'
There was a silence between the two, punctuated by the earsplitting voice of a red haired puppet talking about her Christmas presents on some awful children's show. And in July, the episode was either much too early or much too late.
'How is Siobhan doing with everything?'
Reilly sighed, turning his head toward the small kitchen area in the corner of the room. His eyes stung.
'In all honesty, I couldn't tell you. She's spent the last two days just staring out of the bloody window. She won't even hold Corianne; they've had to put her onto formula already.'
'Just give her some time, a leanbh. It must be really hard to lose a baby.'
'Yeah, it is really hard. Siobhan didn't magic the twins up herself, y'know!'
'Yes, I am aware of the biology behind it all, but what I'm saying is that after nine mon-'
Reilly stood, passing Corianne over to Rosaleen.
'Whatever. Here, can you take Corianne for a little while? I need some fresh air.'
He didn't wait for a response. He gave Corianne's head a quick kiss, then stormed out. He had no issue finding the door leading outside, he had memorised every turn by this point. When he got to the front foyer, he saw the security guard fast asleep, snoring like a chainsaw. The door was shut, a lone shoe lying in front of it. A slender man sat, facing away from him, his long legs stuffed under his thin jacket.
'I'm guessing this shoe belongs to you then?'
'Oh, thank feckin' Jesus! It's like the bloody arctic out there if yer out too long!'
Reilly smiled at the man rushing to re secure his shoe. They exchanged a nod before the man began to make his way back into the ward. Reilly spotted a packet of 'John Player Blue' cigarettes sticking out of his pocket.
'Hey, mate! Do ya mind if I scab one of those?'ns 22.214.171.124da2