There is a baby.
He can’t breathe well. His little lungs didn’t have time to develop before he came into the world, prematurely. His parents’ cigarette smoke in the farm-house isn’t helping.
Most people didn’t know his mother was even pregnant. To be honest, not a lot of people pay much attention to Sandy. To be even more honest, most people avoid Sandy altogether.
Sandy inherited the farmhouse she lives in from Tom. Tom was old enough to be her father. His only requirement in a girlfriend seemed to be that said girlfriend would enable his alcoholism, maybe even participate a little herself. Sandy was more than willing to oblige.
Tom’s body finally cried “Uncle!’ after a lifetime of self-abuse. Sandy was left with a crumbling farmhouse, Tom’s family’s resentment, and her own addictions.
Sandy moved on, found another boyfriend. He liked to drink, too. He moved into her farmhouse. They didn’t live on the grid. Neither had a job. Nor did they care for societal niceties. They pretty much kept to themselves. Except for the occasional drive to town, to cash in their empties, and get more booze.
Sandy knew she couldn’t stay in the house forever. Tom’s kids inherited the land it was on; she’d have to move on, eventually, and she needed to cash in while she could. She wanted to sell the house.
She called the town’s only real estate agent. He came out to assess the place, see how much she could ask for it. The real estate agent could barely keep the horror off his face.
The stench told the story of the sewer back ups the house had endured. Garbage, dirty dishes, and piles of empties dotted the entire house. Mattresses were strewn across the living room floor. Sandy and her boyfriend chain smoked throughout the visit. And in the middle of all of it was a baby. Hooked up to an oxygen tank.
The real estate agent went back to town. And called every authority he could think of. Police. The health region. Child Protective Services. All assured him they would look into it.
Everything that can possibly be done, is being done. The proper authorities have been notified. The proper protocols are being followed.
I’ve never met Sandy.
I’ve never met this baby.
There’s nothing I can do.
So why can’t I stop thinking about him? About Sandy? Why am I having such a hard time falling asleep at night?