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Reconnecting - Fiction Writing Workshop

As I looked at her through the window, I wondered what could be the secret she could be hiding - what was she thinking and what did she know?

I walked out and joined her on the balcony.

"Hi!" I said. She stared at me, eyes hard. No reply. Okay..

"Do you know who I am?" I tried again.

"You're not my mother!" She spat the words at me. I closed my eyes. This was going to be a tough one.She was full of anger.

How can I explain to a nine year old child how it feels to be a nineteen year old student, grieving for a boyfriend who had died in a recent accident? How do I tell a child how it feels to find you're pregnant, with your partner dead and your whole family telling you to 'get rid of it.' Even threatening to cut me off without a cent if I refused.

How could I explain that the only person who seemed to understand my need to give birth to Tom's child was his mother, Muriel Roberts?

"Let the child come," she'd told my parents. "I'll take care of it." They were relieved. Problem solved.

A long, difficult birth culminating in a caeserean delivery zapped me.  Muriel took the child away as soon as she was discharged.  I never saw her.  I threw myself into my studies as an antidote to my grief and loss and to build a life for me and my child.  I hadn't realised that when I gave her away she was gone forever.  I completed my doctorate in humanities and became a lecturer.  I arranged a meeting with Muriel.  She didn't bring Sophie as she was now called.

"Why do you want to disrupt her life?  I'm thinking in her interest," she told me.  I agreed to stay away on condition that Muriel accepted some payments for the child's welfare from me and continued to send me her regular photos and progress reports.  I hadn't been hearing from her for a while and was considering court action.  Then came the telephone call which changed everything.

Muriel had cancer, discovered in the advanced stages. Now she wanted me to take Sophie as she had no family members ready to do so.  I arrived next morning.

And there stood Sophie, eyeing me with hostility.

"You never came to see me even once," she said, through gritted teeth.  "You never wanted me...."

I took out a small photo album containing pictures of her from the beginning until now.  I handed them to her.

Her eyes widened as she examined the photos.

"So you're the friend Grandma sent my pictures to..." she marvelled.

"Grandma thought if  you got to know me, I'd just end up getting married and neglect you.  But no one can ever take your place in my life, Sophie.."

She gave a strangled sob and flung herself into my arms.  We clung to each other for ages, tearfully.  I kissed her cheeks and stroked her hair, feeling peace wash over me....

"We'll be fine, you and me," I murmured into her hair.  "It's just the beginning...."

This post first appeared on Write Away on WordPress on 7/9/2010

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