Monday, 29 November 2010


"Catherine," she said. "It must have been two years."

I turn around. My eyes are dazed and small from staring at the computer screen. I'm not at all sure of her name. She is a project manager of some description. She is cheery, breezy. Perhaps pleased to have remembered the name of someone who played a minor minion role in a long ago project of her's.

"Really?" I say. "Two years. Huh? Doesn't time fly?" I try to smile whilst I scrabble about for a name. Something beginning with S? Sharon? Hmmmm. I'm not confident enough to try it out.
Particularly as she has remembered my name.
Although the name plaque on my desk does give her an unfair advantage.

"Last time I saw you," she says mock accusingly, eyes narrowed, "you had a big bump."

I feel a small internal electric shock, a jolt of disbelief. I did?

"So . . . . . what did you have? A boy or a girl?"

I believe I hear a small intake of breath from my colleague, sitting next to me. But perhaps not.
I feel as though the focus of the room has suddenly snapped to my chair, to my awkward, flapping face as it hangs there. Uncertainly.

But it hasn't. Nobody is looking, nobody is listening.

I hear the blood thump in my ears.

I want to, very quietly and slowly, get off my chair and crawl into the space under my desk. I just want to fold myself up and sit cross legged in that small, dark void. Amongst the cables. I don't want to cry or scream or bang on the desk. Just sit. Very still.

But that would not be fair. To this pleasant and efficient woman who is pleased for remembering my name and the fact that I was pregnant.

I undo my hair in an attempt to hide my reddening ears.

"A girl," I say. "A little girl."

I fumble for the photograph frame with its picture of Jessica.

"Here she is. She's two."

"Yes, she would be," smiles lady beginning with S.

She doesn't ask about the other photograph of the sun setting over the ocean and a name written in the sand. Nobody ever does although I often wish they would.

"Nice to see you again," I say. I turn my eyes back to my screen. They ache.


"Is this your first?"

"No, actually, this baby will be my third."

"Your third? Oh wow, you're an old hand then!"

I suppose I am.
In a strange way and not how the speaker imagines.
Old as the hills.

I smile to myself as I walk away.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


I seem to have little to say these days.

I feel reduced to fleshy parts, precariously balanced against one another.
I watch myself tottering, wait for myself to fall.

I had my next scan.
A baby. Alive.
The consultant talked us through the butterfly of the brain, the bubbles of the stomach and the bladder, the chambers of the heart.
Measuring a week ahead.

But my cervix is short. Already.

A desperate race of growth against shrinking in which I cannot give either side any assistance. Despite the fact that it is all happening inside my own body.

Poor little baby. I wish I could give you something better to balance upon. Such a tiny distance to rest my life, my marriage, my living child's future, upon.

I dream of tiny babies again.

I hope that these dreams do not come to pass.

I hope for . . . I hope for so many, many things.

I wait.
Sometimes I feel as though I will disappear into myself with waiting.