Tamika Wood’s Birthday Party

& Other Stories by Le Kendall

2.2 Gillian vs Michelle

I was seventeen when I realised

I was seventeen when I decided

And I couldn’t be there after that
I couldn’t stay
I couldn’t be a mother
Not then
Not there

Maybe someday

Not ever

I couldn’t have a baby
with a father like mine

Maybe I just didn’t want
to be a mother like mine

I was eighteen when I walked away

Sometimes you think you have no options
That you’re a passive observer
A passenger in the vehicle of your life
That there’s nothing you can do except put up with it
and cope as best you can

And then you reach your limits
and the balance of the risks
of action and inaction start to change

I’d never thought of myself as someone who’d endured
I’d just thought myself incapable of making any kind of change
But there are always choices

And as the options of my life contracted

As I realised that I had
nothing and nobody

As I realised if I stayed I could
only become someone
that I hated

It no longer felt impossible to walk away

Because suddenly the choice wasn’t between whether to go or to stay
But about whether to be somewhere
Or not to be at all

And it turned out I wasn’t ready for my life to be over

So I left

But I can’t talk about that

And maybe some day I’ll be able to explain

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