Distance from you in feet

by Stephanie Hutton

Your mum’s belly was already stuck out like a starving kid when she told me about you. I felt like I was going to be sick but in a good way. She held my hand on that bump. You wriggled and made it real. We hugged. Nearly parents. You were the jam in our sandwich.

She called you Lily before you even came out. I said no way, those are flowers for dead people, they stain your clothes, don’t ever come off. She said, this girl will leave her mark. I knew you would be as beautiful as your mum so I let it go.

I let her go.

I got itchy feet. Couldn’t keep still. I rubbed and scratched and changed my trainers. I ran around and around the block with my music blasting. Those feet needed more. They kicked out in bed. I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t want to kick her again. Or you.

My feet ran into trouble. We got locked up for three years. I started to walk in my head. I came to see you. I looked in all the windows and watched you sleep on your mum. You didn’t get any older, just stayed the same baby size. One time the front door was open. But my feet wouldn’t move.

Now I’m out of that place. Can go where I want. But my feet are tired. I stay in bed, watch TV. I keep the window open. Sometimes I hear kids playing outside and think of you. I hope you’re somewhere nice. I crack open another can.

I don’t visit you in my head that much now.  It’s too far to travel.

Stephanie Hutton is a writer and clinical psychologist in Staffordshire who has been shortlisted for the Bath Short Story Award, Brighton Prize and Bristol Prize.

 

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