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When Father Trevor handed me the creature, wrapped in towels, and I felt its weight in my arms, I realized, that I’ve brought a burden into this world. Not so much a burden on myself, although I could not deny it, but so much as a burden on the creature: a little boy with blue eyes. My eyes.

They say that giving life is the best gift we can produce, but a gift to whom? To God? So that the Lord has more people to spread His word? But what about the children themselves, who did not ask neither for their birth nor for the suffering life will bring onto them?

As I held the boy, I started sweating. I felt every single cold drop on my skin, whether exposed or covered in clothes. I felt as if the room of this log cottage was closing in on me, trying to entrap me, sucking out the strength from my limbs. If not for Father Trevor, who hurried to get the baby from my hands, I would have dropped him right there. “Ending his suffering, before he even realizes it, that he is suffering”.

- Honey, are you ok? Are you having another episode?

The woman on the bed was talking to me. She was my wife, one of the few people, who was able to accept me for who I am: an unstable piece of shit. And this…

- This was a mistake…

I ran out of the house into the cold. The wind was tingling where sweat started to evaporate, and I welcomed the sensation. It was painful, yes, but I needed this pain. No, I deserved this pain and so much more. I multiplied the suffering in this world, and I needed to be punished for that.

The boy was not asked, if he wants to suffer. He was not given a choice. It was only my stupid ambition, my stupid desire to be “normal”, that pushed me to start a family, to have sex with my wife and have a kid as result.

But I was ill. I was sick in my head, and the truth was, that sickness had no cure. What’s worse, it spread to your children. He would suffer like I did. He may not notice this at first, it would be seen as coincidences, foul mood swings, growing pains, just being a teenager. He would not notice it, until it’s eaten a big black hole inside his soul.

I dropped to my knees, right into the snow. I did not care if I caught a cold: I must pay for my mistake. Let it be frostbite or pneumonia or whatever, I must redeem myself through this pain. I felt my own “hole” inside once again. The big nothingness that was me, the same nothingness, that the boy would find in himself, once he is older.

I was nothing. I was that hole. And I was burdened by the need to fill that hole with something, anything. But no matter what I filled it with, it devoured everything with its emptiness. Nothing. I was nothing. And I dared to make another living creature suffer.

Tears started flowing from my eyes, as another realization of my own worthlessness waved over me. Sometimes, such tears brought me relief. Sometimes, they were just a waste of water. This time, the wind froze them right away, pinching my face. That made me chuckle at how useless and wasteful I am.

I wanted to scream, to express the pressure, the agony, that I was feeling, but when I opened my mouth, nothing was coming out of it. Not even a wheeze. I put my hands on my throat and tried squeezing it in hope, that at least something will come out, and I will feel that sweet release.

I heard snow creaking behind me. Someone leaned over me and grabbed my arms pulling them away:

- Stop. It’s ok. Everything is ok. This is just another episode. I am here. I am here.

My wife turned me towards her, placed her arms on my face and gently made me look straight at her:

- You see? I am here. Right here. I am real. And I am with you.

She was intentionally using short and simple phrases, so that I could hear them fully. So that I could understand them fully. I looked a bit above her, towards where the light was coming from, where midwife was standing worryingly looking at us, the strange pair in the snow.

- Look at me, - my wife said.

I lowered my gaze just a little bit, now seeing her hair. For whatever reason she’s been dyeing it pink most of the time I knew her. I was not a fan, would prefer her natural color or ginger, but would never dare to say this to her face.

- Look. At. Me. – she repeated.

I made eye contact and felt a pinch in my stomach, as I stared into the blackness of her eyes. That was the emptiness, that I wanted to fill. Not my own since I deserved to suffer. But she did not. She deserved better. She did deserve better.

And what was I doing here? She just gave birth, I should have been supporting her, but instead, she was here with me. She was supporting me. I am…

- Sorry. I am so sorry.

She pressed me against her chest, as I was crying once again. This time I did feel the relief, that comes with tears.

- I am sorry, - I said once again, but this time with a stronger voice. I knew perfectly well, what triggered me. I need to accept it: - I got scared. Scared by the reality of the situation. Scared of the risks. I do not want his childhood to be like mine. I do not want him to suffer unknowingly.

- Well, if you choke yourself to death, who will teach him how to handle this? – she said with a tired smile.

- I have little idea how to handle it myself.

- Not like this have ever stopped you.

- True, it never did. Let’s not make a precedence out of this, then.

- Let’s.

- I am sorry.

- I know.

- I will be better.

- I know.

- I will be stronger.

- I know.

As I got up, I still felt the weight on my shoulders. It would never go away, even as we went back into the warm house. It would always be there. Like a chip on my shoulder. Like the buzzing in my ear. Like the shadow of my mind. It was and always would be a burden, which I could not carry alone. But I was not alone. Not anymore. And even if my son would have the same illness, the same burden, I will be sure to let him know, that he is not alone.