Somewhere in the South-West of England.
An unruly Spring day appears before its time. The insistent sun breaks through with a distant warmth and, partnering with sharp breezes, rouses life like sleepy children from their beds.
Soon, lambs will come, shoots, blossom and blooms.
Alice lets the fabric of the deckchair take her weight.
In the warmth, for a moment, she almost forgets it all. Almost.
The business has failed. Her husband, a man of nearly 50 years, has no work.
The mortgage was already behind. Many men, younger and better trained, have been searching for work for months.
And then there is her. Unexpectedly pregnant at 41. No income coming in. And things were tough enough, already.
They had rowed for days. And nights.
How could they survive? How could they possibly keep the child? At their age. They couldn’t even support themselves. They had no choice…
Tears. Long silences. Crushed by the weight, the unwieldy shape of their own existence.
Then, whispers. More tears. Long hugs.
Let’s just get away from all of this, give ourselves space, time to think. Be together.
And now, reclined in deckchair sun, she thinks of last night as they had lain together in the pine-framed bed under the starlit sky.
Him: Let’s just muddle through. Her: I love you Stan.
She thinks of their words. Her arm goes protectively across her belly.
And then, for the first time, my mother spoke to me – we’re keeping you; we love you, little darling.
I’m so glad that they did.