I'd heard horror stories in the playground, seen embarrassment and tears.
Shared in secrets that were passed around like candy.
Not for me.
All the messing about and the working it out. I didn't want Bad Sex by misadventure.
Like you said.
I waited. Not as long as the good girls, but longer than my mates.
You were worth it.
I was a bundle of nerve endings and inexperience but it was perfect, you were brilliant.
Just the thought of you sends shivers down my spine.
My best kept secret.
I wonder about you, at times. About your life, what you do, if you're happy or feeling blue.
Your children: Would I know them in the street? I guess now they're all grown up.
Just like me.
you’re a child.
Feeling poorly, snuggled up on the sofa. Or
Saturday night in front the telly.
Or walking to market.
Or along country lanes to the car-boot.
A downpour, diamonds on glass. Or
a shower with rainbows.
Or mist-glittered clothes.
Or blazing sunrise.
Calpol knocked back with sweet tea. Or
Panda Pop and crisps.
Or flask filled with tap-water.
Or bottle of squash unfreezing all its flavour first.
her telling, in her voice, with her
rounded southern burr,
most of the stories are chilling.
Most of the characters
are weak at best. Evil at worst.
A few of the extras sparkle.
They are generous. Kind. Brave.
Non judgmental. (sadly these disappear between chapters)
half way through her story (but you don’t know that then, to you it’s near the end)
she introduces a character.
Symbol of hope.
the child is You.
not knowing that.
A little blood, and then nothing.
Waited. But there were no cramps, no sweats.
No shrimp-like cell cluster.
She recalled the dates of this downfall: Of a
rape no law’d recognise.
Bus drivers’ strike.
Consultation with a grumpy-old-doctor-man.
"... you’re probably too late. Try an
Aspirin between your knees next time…”
This is how she told her love to me. Measured
against in-spite-of, not by because.
Knee length skirt, cotton cami,
lace shrug, and heels.
Fair skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. Very pretty.
My children edge past her, past the Other Women,
on their way to the park.
Son takes a second look, then hurries on. Crocs squeak
through sodden grass.
Baggy jeans soak up puddles of mud.
Typical twelve-year-old boy.
plastered in cut-grass, flushed-pink and grinning.
Daughter cradles the ball, and
crows about winning, while
The Pretty One, the Other Women,
alternate tuts with
but The Pretty One,