The thing is, you were an accident. A mistake. A problem to be solved. We just didn’t get there in time. I didn’t get there in time. I had always been irregular, so I didn’t think much of it. I should have. I really, really, should have. I should have kept track. I mean, they have apps, or calendars for things like this now. I know, I know, it was a risk. I know what everyone was thinking. ‘This is just another way to get his attention.’ But I didn’t just want his attention, I didn’t crave it. I needed it, I survived off it. It kept me going. I started to feel sick when he wasn’t around. But then I started to feel sick when he was around. I started to feel sick all the time. I thought it was a bug, a cold. I thought I’d get better. The shrink said it was just nerves. Wrong.
“Nausea” He called it. What a load of bullshit. “It’ll pass,” he concluded. Wrong, again.
Josie said that you were a blessing. A gift. Have I told you about your auntie Josie?
She’ll be here soon. She’s a bit mad, but she’s all we’ve got. We met in university, in our third year. Josie had been pouring pints and waiting tables at some seedy bar, when she saw me sat alone, waiting for a date that would never show. She bought over a free pint and called the no-show a dickhead. After that, we were stuck. Neither of us had a clue what they wanted to do with our lives. We travelled around for a few years, hoping to ‘find ourselves’. Unfortunately however, all the we found was that travelling was expensive, having sex with strangers in hostels is a bad idea, and no one cares as much about your adventures, even remotely as much, as you do.
So when your grandad said he had a friend looking for ‘administrative assistants’, we both jumped at the opportunity to ditch our streaks of making aggressively poor choices. Anything to get out of beaded necklaces and baggy trousers with elephants on them. We found a cheap two bedroom apartment in a rather unsavoury part of town, bought, somewhat acceptable, workwear, and agreed: no more foolish decisions for a while.
That lasted about three years.
Three years of good, sensible behaviour, and then I would wake up in a strange apartment, after Josie begged me to help her ‘enjoy my 20s’.
“Well that was fun. When will I see you again?”
“I don’t think that would be a good idea.”
Three years and then he would be introduced as the new head of finance.
“Hey Fliss, isn’t that-”
“Shh. Yes. It’s him.”
He would flirt. I would resist. A little. Three years and we would start fooling around in his office. Three and a half years and he would take me out on dates, trips away, show me off. Three years and eight months and his wife would show up at the office, holding the hands of two little boys. Three years and eight and he would abandon me completely.
“We shouldn’t have gotten involved.”
“It’s been months…”
“Look, I guess I just got carried away.”
Three years and nine months and Josie would catch me vomiting in the staff toilets. Three years and nine months and there would be two blue lines on the test she grabbed from the corner shop.