IT WASN’T FOR ME

IT WASN’T FOR ME

It’s the kind of intimacy usually shared by people who are fucking. Not mother and daughter.

That thought made her smile when she decided to make this garden their place: special, intimate. They could be themselves.

Cemeteries were sombre, gothic, but it was beautiful here: ripe, full of life.

What was the word her English teacher had loved? Fecund?

Anything felt possible here, even when it wasn’t.

*******************************************************

“I know you can’t stand anything corny. Most mums love emotional chats, but you just tell people to fuck off if they get too mushy so I’ll keep this brief . . .

Stop hating yourself for the choices you made and the existence you brought me into.

Things could have been far worse for me. I was never neglected or mistreated and didn’t end up in care like half the kids from our estate.

I wasn’t raped on my way home from a club and didn’t end up in hospital after overdosing on cocaine.

If it weren’t for you, I could have married a man who cheated on me with my best friend or pushed me down the stairs for not laughing at his jokes.

Life can be full of pain. It wasn’t for me.”

*******************************************************

The portrait of the Cornish seascape on the wall at the grief centre is intended to put patients at ease. Or so the interior decorator had told the practice manager.

“I’m glad you came,” says Rebecca, a counsellor in her mid-thirties seeing her third patient of the day. “You’ve been through a major loss.”

“I thought I was OK, but everything hit me the other day. They gave me this number and I thought it couldn’t hurt to call.”

Rebecca says nothing.

“As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I saw my baby’s life mapped out. Just like mine.”

Silence.

“I didn’t have the best start in life, you see. In my family, we all get knocked up by the wrong blokes. Me, my mam, my gran, my sister. It’s a rite of passage. Great at getting pregnant, bad at mothering.”

Still no response.

“Then we spend the rest of our lives in shitty marriages and dead-end jobs.”

Silence eats the room.

“When I was a kid, I used to wish I’d never been born. I didn’t want that for my daughter.”

Finally, a reply: “Your daughter? You can’t tell that at six weeks . . .”

“I knew it was a girl as soon as I missed my period. All I wanted was to protect her.”

Straight from the counsellor’s handbook: “That seems like a perfectly reasonable way to feel.”

“Before I came here, I sat in the botanical gardens over the road and talked to her, the baby. I even imagined her answering me. Is that ‘perfectly reasonable’ too?”

“There’s no right or wrong way to feel after an abortion if it helps to know that.”

It doesn’t.

Finish.

Katy Ward

Katy Ward

Katy Ward is a freelance journalist from Hull. Her work has appeared in The Metro, The Overtake, LoveMONEY and Independent Voices. She has a BA in English from Oxford University and a postgraduate diploma from City University.

Katy Ward is a freelance journalist from Hull. Her work has appeared in The Metro, The Overtake, LoveMONEY and Independent Voices. She has a BA in English from Oxford University and a postgraduate diploma from City University.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *