Friday 14th May 2010
Gestation: 33 weeks
One year ago.
“And how do you feel, Mark?”
I turn towards the counsellor, and I look at her. And then I look across at Suse. She sits in the seat opposite, a comfortable looking seat, but I know from the one I’m in that it’s not.
Or maybe it’s just me.
“It’s been hard, June,” I start, my voice cracking. I feel irritated by this betrayal by my larynx. As if she can’t see straight through me anyway. “It’s been really rough. And really unfair.”
June looks at me without reacting. When some people do this, you just want to slap them. But June has a grace; an innate kindness that can’t be faked.
“And I find myself getting angry. Really angry. Unfairly angry,” I say, surprising myself that I want to continue. “I see women down the street, perfect strangers, wheeling their kids around in prams, or walking along with them, minding their own business. And I just want to yell at them. Or I’ll see a pregnant woman, and I just want to let her have it, for how unfair this whole thing has been. And these are the ones with kids who are behaving themselves. Don’t get me started on the ones where the kids are being little shits.”
I stop and look at Suse, who nods slightly in encouragement.
“I just want them to know,” I say, “that it’s unfair. That it’s just not fair. And I know, I know, there are a whole bunch of people out there with really bad shit going on. With really bad diseases and really fucked up existences, and abuse, and homelessness, and full-on, hard-core psychiatric illness. I know that we’re in a fucking lucky country, and we’re so God-damned lucky that we were given this opportunity, and these brains, and this health, and everything. But it’s still just unfair!” I hear my voice rising. “I see these people getting pregnant, and not even wanting to. Or even still, I see people getting pregnant who do want to. In the end, it doesn’t matter. I have the same reaction with all of them. I just find myself thinking: ‘Why can’t this be us? What did we do so wrong?’ ”
My voice cracks again with this last sentence, and I realise there is a tear at the corner of my eye.
I stop for a moment, and I see that Suse is crying too.
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