Friday, July 16, 2010


He smokes his last cigarette and dwells on the ebb and flow of the tidal river. Sitting slumped on sun-warmed concrete steps, he's dressed casually in faded jeans fashionably slashed across one knee and a loosely fitting T, its brand name bragging 'surfer' although he’s never waxed a board.  Early morning joggers pass a cursory nod and exhale misty breath in the early morning sunshine while he watches gulls scramble for scraps and scrap among themselves whenever scraps are found.

The baby stroller is parked with the break on fast and a Botticelli angel sleeps within. Her tiny hands tucked to her side, her cupid lips relaxed and flush, eyelashes thick and curled, her plump little cheeks just begging to be kissed.

He takes a deep drag on his cigarette, contemplates the swirling smoke and the accidental ring that rises like a halo before his eyes. Then the pang of guilt slugs him and he stubs it out half finished. It’s not the guilt of smoking in front of the infant that has him reeling, it’s the darkness in his soul that wracks, the dangerous thoughts, and the resentful bitterness. Then there's the temple-bruising epiphany. It's his predicament that causes guilt and brings him to this point of desperation. He doubts his sanity. He is sinking into depravity and connivance as he hatches an ill-thought out plan.

Qualifications came easily, establishing his own business did not. He plied his trade with skill and a deft hand. His work was quality, he knew that, but being a good provider had proven a daunting task when faced with competition. He found himself overworked, overwrought, over anxious and underpaid. He struggled to administer and drowned in paper work, bad debtors and keeping track.

She is a professional, in the full glow of her career. All she touches spins into gold whilst his world crushes to ash. She thrived and still does, she's well-regarded, articulate, beautiful, so very beautiful.

He loves the sweeping French roll of her hair and the slim lines of her skirt as it hugs her curves and accentuates her shape. He loves the rhythmic click of her stiletto heels as her slender form diminishes, moving closer to the exit. He smiles at the tantalising sway of her hips. She has feminine wiles and knows how to use them to get just what she wants. He loves the ritual flick of hair and the sight of her manicured hand as she sweeps up her keys before twisting shoulders to give that provocative glance towards him, mouthing “I love you!” as she leaves. If only he could believe her words.

She has never been a natural mother. She loves their angel but instinctive she is not. As a bitch introduced to C-sectioned pups, she had trouble bonding with her child and the pleasures of maternity. Soiled nappies and ‘posit repulse her. Breastfeeding offered no euphoric ‘let down’ or maternal swoon, as it did for other women. The drudgery of domesticity made her melancholy and morose and he longed to see her happy. So their roles are now reversed and he is now mother.

She is barely present, he is always there. She revels in her work, he tires of domestic bliss. Their lovemaking has dwindled from the passionate and risqué exploration of each others bodies to blasé and boring.

As he whiles away the morning in the soft winter sunshine, he looks at his angel’s face with anguish. This is not all it’s cracked up to be. The child has brought them pain and disorder, discord and discomfort. They should never have had a baby. Neither was prepared, yet here this tiny thing is driving them apart.

Eyes glazing and nerves unfeeling, he gently turns the stroller towards the ebbing tide, careful not to wake the child. He flicks the break loose with a deft touch from the tip of his boot and effects a tiny push. The stroller slightly jolts and begins to roll. A sleeping baby winces but does not stir.

Suddenly conscious of his despicable desperation, he springs sprightly to his feet and reigns in the errant carriage. How could he even think to harm this perfect blend of them, let alone act upon it? Shame pervades his being, soaks his soul so deeply he doesn’t even glance to see if anyone has noticed. He looks down at this perfect thing made out of imperfection and the blood drains from his face.

He flicks on the break and tucks the child in gently. He strokes her tiny cheek, corrects a wayward curl. Tears well, as contemplation of such darkness fills his heart to breaking. They fall sparingly on to the pale pink blanket forming polka dots of cerise.

Another epiphany whacks him on the side of the head - he needs to get some help.

Contribution for Theme Thursday on a Friday . . . run along now and see if you can help some others . . .


  1. Powerful, Baino! Beautifully, while painfully, written!

  2. tight story developed this quite well...methodically probably one of the best i have read by you...

  3. Agh! Robbed me of the payoff. Was thinking "Creative Infanticide" was about to depict real infanticide.

    Good piece. Some issues (including tenses and typos... cough, cough), but I dig it.

  4. i was getting nervous...very good writing!

    i know a few SAHD's. I wonder what they think, maybe these very thoughts?

  5. We do still have the reptilian brain, way down in there...

    Good writing.