It will be a girl, and she will become a single mother. How do I know this? Because that’s what happens in my family. 

It all began with my mother – widowed two weeks before giving birth to her first daughter. Of course she doesn’t see the history, and if she would she would not see herself as part of it. After all, she was widowed, not divorced. She had a noble status – married to the man of her dreams, a man who haunted my own father. I was surprised when I learned that he had been short. I was also surprised when I realised he had been a mechanic. After all what would an engineer be doing tinkering with the bolts on a plane? It occurred to me that he mustn’t have been any good at his job. It fell on him, that bit of the plane he’d been tinkering with. But I wouldn’t tell her these things. 

Then there is my sister, the ‘fatherless’ one. Hindsight has given her that title because it accounts for all her mistakes (in that she’s lucky; I have no such excuse). She could never really relate to men, though she has tried; too often and obviously with no protection. My niece is twelve now and I can see the way she looks at other girls’ fathers, as if they’re a foreign country. I wonder if there is a gene for yearning. 

And then there’s me. I was so proud on my wedding day, at least that’s what the photos suggest. But what would I know at seventeen? You can only just see the bump under the wedding dress. Luckily high waistlines were the fashion. He’s wanted a boy, so I knew I would have a girl. 

And here she is, my darling daughter, with stars in her eyes as she tells me their ‘news’. I embrace her (and him though I can already sense his departure). I place my hand on her belly. 

It will be a girl, and my daughter will be a single mother. 

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AuthorAmanda Apthorpe