Friday, 28 January 2011

When did you start?

When did you start being a parent? I think it started in the waiting room, wondering where I would be living while reading House Beautiful. My flat was too small to have a child in and it had too many stairs for me to take. I was on a waiting list for a council flat and lived in a hotel. There were occasional chats with the women next to me if they were alone. The shimmer of a wedding ring would catch my eye and I'd think about how comfortable they must be. And how they only had to worry about what colour they'd be painting the room. The simple joys of a normal life.  A regime. A reason to make dinner at a certain time. The couples were the danger...couples and women with their mothers or friends. Mine was thousands of miles away and had recommended an abortion. Make your own bed and lie on it. I don't want a child ruining my retirement. I've worked hard all my life. That wouldn't have been good company anyway.  My social life had revolved around the school where I was head of the English department and once I left, I was soon forgotten. I hated seeing the couples. But the midwife was lovely.

A few years went by of looking after him day and night. A pleasant blur now. Pictures to remind me. I took him out with me to parties, art events. We had a great circle of friends. And a lovely flat after four moves through temporary accommodation. Was lucky in the end. Landed on my feet. And now, he's six and he has a lovely attitude, good school, and a loving grandfatherly neighbour who dotes on him and me too.
So the darker parts are over. And a smooth open horizon awaits. I love you Mum. You really need to get a Dad. Then , if you die, I will still have an owner. That's what he said today after school. What about Tony? Tony's too old. He worries about me dying and being left alone. He asked about his dad. Did I cry when I saw his picture last time? No. You were very brave. 

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