This is a piece of creative writing that I wrote in response to today's freewrite prompt by the lovely @mariannewest. It isn't quite as polished or refined as I would like it to be (let's face it, I have a serious perfectionism complex, and the five-minute freewrites are never going to be polished and perfect – they are really helping me to let go of my neuroses in that regard, and just let things flow 😂) but I love the core idea that emerged from it. This is a story that I would like to develop and expand upon in the future.
My mother told me never to darken their door again. My father could have defended me – I know he could have – but he did not. He was always under her thumb. The night they realised what was going on, and she locked me into my room, all I could hear from the other side of the door were urgent whispers and low voices.
‘I can’t believe she would do this, I can’t believe we have to deal with this … this … I don’t even know what to call it. I have no words.’
‘Can we just –’
'Who was he? That's what I want to know.'
‘Maybe we should wait until Bob gets here,’ he said quickly, blurting out his suggestion while he still had the courage to do it, before she could say anything else, ’and then we can talk to her again. He would know what to do. He would –’
‘No.’ My mother’s voice had an acrid quality.
‘He’s her brother, Joanne.’
‘And much good he’s done her,’ she snapped by way of response. ‘Would she have ended up in this state if he had kept a closer eye on her? I should never have let her go to those dances. You were the one who told me to do it, Mick! Let her have a night out, you said. Let her enjoy some time with her friends. Bob will mind her, he'll keep an eye on her, there's nothing to worry about! Well, Mick! Are you happy now? Look what you've caused...’
She stormed into the room where I was seated then, her face a mask of cold, hard fury.
‘Well? Who was he?!’
The slaps I received that night, the things she said ... I try not to think about that now. Nor do I dwell on my father: his helpless face, his quiet whispers once it was all over.
‘It was that lad in the baker’s, wasn’t it? I’ve seen you were pally with him... I'm sorry, Sue. I really am.'
That was all he could say: that he was sorry. The pity in his eyes is one thing I will always remember...
Despite all that is said, there is one thing I know about myself. One thing that carries me through every day: I am not pitiful.
I know what they say about me when I go to the marketplace, holding my son's hand, and I see their stares.
Pregnant out of wedlock.
Does she even know who the father is?
My son is nearly three years old now. He is so innocent: full of joy; revelling in the slightest object of interest that catches his eye; always making me laugh. Yesterday, he came to me holding a little flower he had found, gazing upon it with wide eyes, like it was the most precious thing he had ever seen in his life. I do not pity myself. Not while he is by my side: lighting up even my dullest moments with his smile.