A very short story

After the Children’s Parties

I still cry at night. Usually when I’m alone and always after one of the children’s parties.  It was twenty five years ago when I was just seventeen, free living like Jimmy Dean and trying everything at least once.

She phoned me when I was in London.

“Can you come home,” she said.  I knew there was something wrong.

I hitched back to Manchester listening to fat lorry driver stories.  One guy threw me a porn mag.  I just flicked through it noticing only the names of the young models, Chantelle, Samantha, Dolores.

I was dropped at the Rochdale roundabout and walked the last few miles in the rain.  Dusk was just setting in.

Serious faces and serious ornaments adorned her Mothers catholic pantry.  Rosary Beads strangled Sacred Hearts and tussled with a crucifix for a front row seat in the theatre of sin – they were not going to be disappointed.

When she told me I said, “I know.”  I didn’t, it was just one of the things I’d chewed over on my journey home with Cantelle, Samantha and Dolores.

She told me what she was going to do with “it”.  “Appointments have been made and I need one hundred pound off you. That’s your half of the cost.” I just sat and nodded in silence at all the right places.

She drove me home to fallowfield and we sat in total silence for the forty-minute journey.  Everything I saw was frighteningly symbolic, from the young mothers pushing prams, billboards advertising nappies and the cold damp graveyard.

The next day we met up at my brother’s Bed-sit where we could talk alone.  We used to look after it for him when he worked away.  She told me later that she liked to pretend it was our bedsit and we were living together like a “real couple”.

“Do you want a black coffee, I’ve got no milk?”

“Have you got any Marvel?”

“Yeah,” I said remembering the emergency tin that she bought and hid it under the sink the last time we stayed.

We sat on the open bed settee and argued for hours.  She missed her appointment; I wouldn’t let her out of the room.  She tried to phone but I kept pulling the phone out of her hand and putting it back on the receiver.

“What can you offer me?”  She said.  “Dreams, promises and some dodgy council flat from hell.  You don’t even love me do you……………Do you?”

“No, I don’t” I said, unable to look at her.

She made an appointment for the Tuesday, she was in on Thursday, out on Friday and no one ever knew.

I should have stopped her.  I could have stopped her if I really wanted to.

The performance in the Bed-sit deserved an Oscar.  The truth was I didn’t want to stop her, I just wanted the easiest way out.  I thought it was at the time.

I never gave her the one hundred-pound.  I felt that doing so would have been condoning her actions.

It never leaves me.

It’s always there especially after one of the children’s parties.

2 thoughts on “A very short story

  1. I can’t remember her name-she was about 17 and had been working in the office with us for about 3 months when she came in red-eyed. At first she wouldn’t tell anyone what was wrong.Then she admitted she was pregnant.
    She had to get rid.
    He’d walked.
    She had no money.
    Someone organised a ‘whip round’to pay for the op.
    I didn’t agree-but I gave anyway-too embarrassed to argue.
    She never came back-we found out later that there’d never been a baby
    Didn’t ease my conscience though…….

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