Under the Pier, Where Lives are Made
She returns each day to the place her son was started. She shackles her bondi-blue foldaway to the railing, and lets the salt-wind rustle her memories.
Under Saltburn Pier it was, in 1941. Billy Hurles was her man, and he was going off to fight Hitler.
“Give me something so I don’t forget you,” he said.
“A lock of hair?”
So they crept under the pier to be alone. But other couples were there, and she saw her own distaste reflected in the eyes of other girls. It was over quickly. She kissed him sweetly, and told herself she’d done her bit for the war.
She knew she couldn’t keep the bairn. She’d accept, in time, that he’d be better with a proper family; without the shame. Perhaps one day she’d see him again. But the bairn was born blue; quiet, tiny and unmoving. A priest came into the room that was already crowded with men.
“Shall I bless the child? Help him find his way to the Lord.”
“You shall not,” her father said.
She returns each day to the place her son was started and prays he is at peace: some days she looks up, some days down.