So this story wanted to grow up to be a novel, or so it seemed, but I said: no, little story, you have to remain ever so small so that you may be read. 😉 I intended to weave both songs in again, but as you may have noted above, this story had a mind of its own–and if it stinks, blame it on the story’s mind. haha The song inspiration is “Fairytale of New York” by The Pogues
Some People’s Paradise
Jenny’s stomach dropped when she saw the two blue lines. Well, it wasn’t like she hadn’t expected it, was it? The cavalier attitude shed away. She couldn’t. No. Nope. No way. Five kids, no money, a happy drunk of a husband. This wasn’t life, this was a very live version of hell. She could hear her mum say, “You made your bed—”
No, nope, no way. This was Sean tampering with her birth control again. He thought knocking her up was damn romantic. He probably did it after a night at Gallagher’s downing Guinness and Jameson shots until he could barely walk home.
“I love when my seed fills your belly,” he said, like he’s from some bad Irish novel from an even worse era. The first time he’d pressed his cheek to her swollen belly, she did think that, how romantic that I’m having your baby because she loved him, lord, did she love him. That had lasted until her ankles swelled and her belly grew so she couldn’t even see her ankles any more. Then the contractions came which made her damn him and his penis and his glossy-tongued brogue.
Maybe if she were back home with mum and da instead of here, the land of plenty making all of their dreams come true. No, that wouldn’t be any better. Except she’d have family.
She tossed the plastic indicator into the trash, burying it so Sean wouldn’t see it.
Molly’s face appeared around the corner. “I don’t feel good.”
Jenny felt her daughter’s forehead, burning hot, the beginning of the stomach flu that had been making its way around the school and neighborhood. It seemed like she only had seconds warning before the vomiting began and then it progressed to the other four children. When Jenny had to call Mrs. Delaney from across the hall to stay in the apartment while she went to the basement to wash stained bedclothes, Jenny cursed Sean. He’d better not come home drunk. He’d better have deposited his paycheck. He’d better help. And she’d better find a way to make a difficult decision.
As she opened the apartment door, she heard voices, Sean and Mrs. Delaney. Sober, he was sober for a change. Relief plowed over her. Molly was curled up in his arms on the couch while he stroked her chestnut hair. He glanced at Jenny and smiled.
“Mrs. Delaney says you’ve been up to your eyes in it. You should have called, darling, I would have been home in a flash,” he said.
Too much of her mother’s daughter. “We don’t call men to do women’s work,” her mum would have said.
“You look knackered. Sit for a while and I’ll take care of things,” he said, and then he smiled that smile that made her stupid.
She did sit. She didn’t complain when he rubbed her feet or ran down flights of stairs to put the clothes in the dryer or opened cans of chicken noodle soup and poured glasses of watered-down orange juice. When her stomach rumbled, he held her hair back and afterwards told her he loved her and then tucked her in bed.
He appeared in the doorway holding the indicator with its two blue lines. “Good news, eh?”
Only in Sean’s world could that be good news, she thought. She squeezed her eyes tightly closed to keep back the tears.
The cotton pillow felt cool beneath her cheek. Tomorrow she’d be smart. Tomorrow they’d have a discussion. Tomorrow she’d make him understand. Tomorrow, maybe, tomorrow.