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Ella’s Monologue

I put her hair in plaits today. Two little ones, on either side of her head. She looked beautiful. I’m usually no good at hair – fancy styles are too fiddly and I can never get my fingers to do it right. But I wanted her to look nice today, for the big day. I didn’t want her to be whispered about in the playground, you know? As the council house kid, the one with the “no, she’s too young to be her mother” mother. No. I wasn’t gonna let that happen to her. Not on her first day.

I remember the feeling when she was born. Most parents say that though, don’t they? But it was different for me. I wasn’t like the other women on the ward – I didn’t have or want Lily’s dad there, holding my hand. I’d never ever wanted him to touch me, yet there I was. But such is life, I guess. It happens to more of us than you’d think. The worst part was walking through the hospital, though. I felt people staring, sizing me up – my age, my lack of a man. I think they thought I’d failed her just by giving birth to her. But they weren’t to know.

But my Dad did know. That’s why I could never understand how he changed when I brought Lily home. Maybe it was guilt, that he felt like it was his fault. But he still let his boss come round to the house, even after all that. My home and I couldn’t escape him. Even Mum didn’t put a stop it, for all her talk before of going to the police and … (She trails off, clutching and with a quick look down at her stomach). Well. Apparently Dad still wonders why I moved out; Why wouldn’t I?

I like it here, anyway. Yeah, it’s the council’s, but we’re not gonna be here forever. No matter how many more shitty zero hours contracts I have to take, I’ll make sure that Lily has a roof over her head that’s entirely ours. Near the good secondary school and everything – I know all about catchment areas now. And I’m prepared for when the day comes that she asks about her Dad, why it’s just me and her and why she never sees him. I’ll tell her, I will, cause I don’t believe in lying to kids, unless it’s about Santa or something. She deserves to know where she comes from, even if it’s unpleasant. Because I’ll make sure that she knows how loved she is too, and that there is nothing better in the world than being her mother, because I always wanted to be one, even if I didn’t want to become one like that, right then. But that can wait. She’s still young, for now, despite how quickly she seems to be growing up. But I guess you could say the same about me. (She laughs).  


Pearl is a playwright from Weston-super Mare studying English, Politics and Media at the University of Newcastle.

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