Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party

& Other Stories by Le Kendall


Mum was so angry I thought she’d hit me. Even though she hadn’t done that for years and years. As though it was something I was doing to her instead of something that was happening to me. She’d suggested an abortion and I just thought she was telling me I wasn’t good enough to do what she had done. She wasn’t that much older than me when she had us. Maybe I had a baby out of spite.

“My father would understand me,” I snapped at her. I don’t know that, of course. I don’t know anything about my father. I can’t talk about that. Is all Mum has ever said. But I can tell it hurts her when I say that and I want to hurt her as much as she hurts me.

Mum tells people that Alan Sebastian didn’t speak until he was four years old. But even when he didn’t speak to other people, he spoke to me.

Now he speaks to other people, but he doesn’t speak to me.

For a long time I was the only person who understood him. “Bibby Bibby” he would say and I would know and I would tell Mum and she’d say “Is that really what Alan, wants, Shelley? Or is that what you want?” but she’d give it to me anyway.

When I told Alan Sebastian I was pregnant he didn’t even look at me. He just walked out of the room and closed the door. I was left staring at Scott on Alan Sebastian’s bed and Scott didn’t look at me either.

When Scott first started coming over they used to do their homework at the kitchen table. Now they spend a lot of time in Alan Sebastian’s room with the door closed.

“I’m guessing there’s a reason you’re telling me about this too.” He’d said quietly.

“Yeah.” I said.

There wasn’t much else to say, I guess.

I haven’t spoken Bibby with Alan Sebastian since he’d told me not to speak it in front of Scott. And he hasn’t spoken it to me either. We used to call English ‘Mumtalk’. Now Mumtalk is all we ever speak.

He looks at me with such hurt in his eyes.

I don’t want to hurt Alan Sebastian but as my belly grows it pushes him further away from me.

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