• Childhood,  Family,  Friendship

    First Class

    ‘How long?’ I breathed down the phone. ‘Weeks,’ Martin’s voice choked back. The day after, at four o’clock in the afternoon, I popped around to the red-bricked house next door. Jenny was setting the table, and the smell of home-cooked cottage pie filled the air. She kindly put a teapot on for us while young Sophie played with her ice blue princess castle. ‘Does she…’ I asked, narrowing my eyes. Jenny shook her head. ‘We need to. But I just…’ Her cup shook against her saucer. ‘Let me help,’ I offered, placing my aged hand over hers. Her skin was so young. ‘How?’ Her eyes were lost, strong, and full…

  • Family

    The Perfect Gift of Love

    The perfect gift of love. Her arrival date was Christmas Day. Her funeral date was not much later. She lived and died inside of me. I cradled her silent body, kissed her sleeping eyes, and hung tight until she was taken away. My baby. My gift. My love. Mince pies filled the air, laughter, lights, out-of-tune carols, and the tearing of paper. Everything was bright, though the colour had faded for me and Matt. Our angel would have been a year older today. She would have shone like the star on top of our tree. Sammy rolled around under the Christmas tree, crushing the presents with his long body, his…

  • Family

    Her Mark

    We ventured all over the village, leaving traces of her everywhere. She had left a mark on Sarah and me, but she was too young to have left her mark on the world. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair. I wanted everyone to see her, to know her, to feel the impact of her short existence. On a post in the woods, we left her old shoe. She learnt to walk there. On a jagged stone wall, we left a buttercup. She always stopped to pick them on our family walks. On a roundabout in a playground, we left her toy microphone. She said her first word on there. ‘Sing’.…

  • Family

    Eighteen Today

    “In five more minutes our baby girl would be turning eighteen,” Jeff said, and frowned at his wife, “goodness, she’d be an adult.” “Why won’t it stay straight?” Sarah snagged the safety pin from the paper with her race number on it and fished another one out of Jeff’s rucksack. “Why do we even need numbers?” “To keep everything in order. There are thousands of people to organise.” Jeff cast a concerned glance over his wife. “Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t have to do this, you know. If you don’t feel up…” Sarah shot him a warning look. “Well, I mean…” He searched for the right words but…