God – and I say god loosely – willing, you won’t be mine. Hopefully you won’t inherit my inept genes, my lack of composure, my family’s issues, my stubborn nature. Hopefully there won’t be a chance for that. Hopefully you will belong to someone else. In an ideal world, you wouldn’t have to call me mother. You wouldn’t have to love me most. I’d be your favourite woman outside of your mother, but you will not answer to me. This will be your blessing and your curse, you see.
I’ll be the haven you hop on the bus to reach; you’d call me on your way, sometimes sobbing, telling me you need to see me. I’d wait for you on the doorstep, cigarette lit and cup of coffee in one hand, the other extended in a silent invitation for a hug. You’d come in, sit down at the kitchen table, and reach for my cigarettes. I’d ask you if you were pregnant or if you got someone pregnant. You’d scoff, do I think so little of you? Well, baby, I helped bring you up, I know your mother. The odds are not in your favour. No, you’d say your mum’s stupid and a whore and a slut and whatever, and I’d have to agree, because I know that better than anyone else. The odds are I slept with her too.
I’d have to call your mum. She’d sigh and say she hates that you’re sixteen, and she doesn’t remember being so stupid when she was your age. I’d laugh at her and tell her we were even more idiotic. She’d naturally deny it. I’d ask for you to spend the night, and she’d be fucking relieved because she cannot stand your tantrums. She’d send you love and promise to pay me back. You were right, baby, your mother’s a stupid bitch. You’d be hungry and I’d cook for you. Steak and chips. We’d watch Thor 1 and 2 and 3 and 4, and you’ll say Tom Hiddleston gets hotter with age, and I’d be proud to have helped bring you up, if that is what you get out of it.
Baby, you don’t understand how much I love you. How glad I am you’re your mother’s, and not mine. How glad I am you have her beautiful eyes, or her height, or her lovely fingers, or her intellect. How I might have slept with your father too, but you’re not ready to know that either. One day, I promise. I’d take you out for dinner and people would say I’m either corrupting young girls with my perverted mind (which I am doing, yes, thank you very much), or got a new boy toy. I’d laugh and tell you about a date I had. You’d tell me you don’t understand why I never married. You say that a lot, actually. I’d roll my eyes and repeat my answer. I’m scared of marriage. You’d praise me for being brave enough to admit it. I’d call you a little shit and remind you I potty trained you while your mother was away, all those afternoons. I watched you accidentally licking your own snot in your sleep. You have no right to be so patronising. You’d smirk – you take that after your father. You’d say you love winding me up, and I promise that once you’re of age, I’ll let you wind me up even more. You laugh and tell me I’m a sick old woman. I’d stick my tongue out.
You’d ask me for whiskey and against my better judgment, I’d pour you some. You’d say I have good taste and I’d remind you that everything you know about drinking, you know from me. Your parents are both lightweights. That’s how you were born. They never told you that you were conceived in the back seat of my bloody car. I’d tell you that and make you promise never to have sex in that car. History repeats itself and I’m not ready to look after your children as well. You’d ask me if I never did it in my car. I’d laugh. I was lucky to escape pregnancy. I’d never tell you luck never had anything to do with it.
When you’d fall asleep, it would be in my arms, while we were watching some awesome anime I used to like when I was your age. You’d snore lightly and I’d kiss your hair. There are no words to how much I love you, baby. How much you are part of me, despite not being mine. How I will always be there for you, how I’ll get strippers on your 18th birthday, how I will take you to get a tattoo come summer, how I would do anything for you. How you are the best thing that happened to me. How your second name was my choice. How when I finally die, you inherit my entire porn collection. How I want you to be a writer, just to make me proud.
When we wake up, stiff and in pain, you get up and make me bacon and toast, coffee and tea – just how I like it.
I pray to what I can you will not be mine.
All my heart, my books, and my whiskey,