A young woman from around 17 years old had mascara stains on her cheek as she stumbled through the dark streets of Mullingar. She held an almost empty basket with just bought baby food and clothes in one hand. A crying newborn in the other.
The girl moved to the outskirts of town, as far away from her house as her tired legs could carry her.
Still crying silently, she tried to shush her baby and looked to see if anyone was around. Seeing they were alone, she sat down on her knees at the corner of a street and placed the bag on the pavement. The baby stopped crying then, and focused his barely opening eyes on those of his mother looking at him.
"I'm so sorry." The girl breathed out, her voice shaking. Tears fell down on the baby's face and he blinked.
"I can't take care of you. No one can know." She whispered desperately as she sat on her knees, next to the basket with her back towards the street. She held her baby in front of her. "I was stupid. And the b-" she choked on her tears and put her hand on her mouth to prevent herself from letting out another cry and maybe waking up one of the people living nearby.
"The best thing that I can do for you -that you deserve- is let you go." She placed a shaking kiss on his forehead, which was exposed just enough by the blanket wrapped around him, and carefully laid the baby in the basket. As soon as the child lost his mothers' touch, he started sniffing again and reached towards her, hoping she'd hold him again.
She felt even more broken at the sight and remained close for a moment longer. So soft it was almost a whisper, she hummed out a song.
"I know you'll be alright, child.
Just close your eyes, and see,
I'll be by your side-" The girl gently tapped his little heart. "any time you're needing me..."
For twenty minutes, the girl looked at her little boy. She wished things were different. She wished she could take him home, wished she could keep him. But most importantly, she wished the child would have a better life.
"I'll never forget you."
And with tear filled eyes, the girl left her baby all alone.