Mo bhuachaillín beag
by Catherine Higgins-Moore
I knew it when I went to the Royal. But I did what I was bid.
"You’ll be alright, Love. Wait ‘til your next appointment."
I should’ve stayed. I should’ve tried harder. But when you’re twenty, and you’ve gone nowhere and you’ve done nothing, people think you are nothing. Divis Flats?
I wore sanitary towels every day for a week. Took Panadol like Smarties.
Monday morning I rushed in through the heavy glass doors, my feet soaked. Kept waiting an hour.
Different nurse. Never met my eye.
"Better this way than getting one that’s not right." She said, handing me a scrap of paper towel to wipe the jelly off.
Twenty weeks I had him. No time at all. Mo bhuachaillín beag.
A hundred and forty days.
We said we’d try for another but then he moved into the Maze. Plotting against the peelers. Two years sitting alone before ‘Fuck it. I’m off.’
New York, New York.
Can never go back. Didn’t come properly. No visa nor nothing. What’s to go back for?
I see wee ones, poor like mine woulda been. Always buttoned-up wrong. Not one to give a damn about them coming outta school, or send them home in the right knick. Mothers with enough on their plates.
The wealthy ones are always buttoned up right.
I nanny for a coupla girls in the West Village. Gorgeous wee things. New outfits every day. Drawers full of clothes.
My wee mite would’ve been coming in bedraggled. I’da been cursing at him for tearing the arse outta his trousers. Shouting at him to wait ‘til payday for a new pair.
I’m a bit like them. Same hair and pale skin. Their granny was Irish.
People take me for their mother sometimes. I don’t like to correct them.