The Joy of Children

From the collection Shorts:

Not this bank holiday
But the one before
24 robbers came
Knocking at my door
Just kidding
I went for a walk
The sun shone
And it filled the heavens
And while it was out
It was filling souls
With joy
And vitamin D
And a hope
That just perhaps
The forthcoming summer
Might fix the empty lives
Of the life that hadn’t quite
Turned out as they’d planned
There were beautiful faces everywhere
Dreaming of better worlds
For only themselves
Ourselves
Freedom was ours
There was no work today
The schools were out
There was an endless abundance of
Mummy’s and daddy’s little angels
They filled the air
With their laughter
Their babbling
Their jokes
And questions
And their god awful shrieking and crying
And screaming and nagging
Those greedy selfish little fuckers
Howling for more
More more more
More
And the faces of their mothers
Painted pictures of a wish
That they had jobs like their partners
So they too
Didn’t have to be here
Or they had kept their legs crossed
Or swallowed instead
Anything instead
Of this torture
Those poor mothers
Who lie and tell the familiar tale
They’re driving me fucking mental
But I wouldn’t be without them
They fucking would
If they could
And if I’m honest
They were the majority
In that sea of faces
And they looked like they would rather be
Somewhere else
Anywhere else
Somewhere that served gin
Anywhere that served gin
Mother’s ruin
Hardly
Gin is fun
The clue is in the question
Mother’s
That’s where the ruin lies
Those noisy dirty annoying tiny bastards
They that make those poor women mothers
And it confirms my suspicions
Of what those long faces were born of
So if not the gin
To ruin another mother
Maybe prosecco
The current fashionable self medication
Of women everywhere
Who have passed that hurdle
Of being young
Prosecco then
Fashionably so
A reminder of the fun they used to have
Before motherhood
Mither-hood
Prosecco
Now self medication
Against exhaustion
And depression
Oh I’d love a prosecco
She said
Instead of this ironing
And making pack-ups
And mediating internal wars
Between my tiny offspring armies
I dream of prosecco
When they’re finally asleep
To be sipping
Happily
In a calm
Adult space
Where my blouse would smell of Channel
Or Gucci
Not baby sick
Nor Domestos
Instead of this
Anything but this
Being trapped in this
This 2 week break
In the depths of hell
Send them back to school
Please
Please
And kill me before
The 6 week torture pot
Of the school summer holidays
Is eventually upon us
So I continued my stroll
A smile on my face
The breeze in my hair
Well
What’s left of it at least
At least that fell out on its own accord
And not through the stress
Of the lifestyles
Chosen by those mothers
And too their partners
Who lie about working late
To avoid coming home
So they can fuck their PA
Or the accountant
Or even dizzy Lauren from the post room
Because that fantasy
Is saving their soul
From the bleak life they have to return to
Because they’re pretending
They made the right decision
When all along they feel
Something else
That’s one life
It’s not mine
Mine?
I’m contemplating
A bullet dodged
A life once yearned for
That now makes me shiver
And shudder
And laugh
And I’m relieved
That I failed
At one more thing
That I was wrong about
Humans are lousy
For the most part
I enjoyed the quiet pint
Without some snotty nosed bawler
Pulling my sleeve
Or needing a shit
I enjoyed the round of golf
Without rushing to fulfil
My half of a deal
In a business venture
Of raising small expensive humans
That she wanted
I just wanted to help
In the act of making them
The sex
The fun
But the relationship that had sealed that deal
For so many
Had long lost its flavour
Its fancy
Its fun
And its excitement
The sexless smileless speechless monster
That it had become
That wasn’t what I was to sign up for
So happy was I
Reflecting on my lucky escape
That I almost tripped
Over the passing dog
At my feet
Now that’s a better option I thought
That’s unconditional love
Always happy to see you
No nagging
No blaming
No nothing
But happy
Get a dog
I thought
He could wag his tail
I could wag mine
Who am I kidding
I’ll wag mine whether I have a dog or not
I laughed
At my own joke
About wanking
The forever child
I’d chosen to be
Not a babysitter
Of one that distilled
My own time and pleasure
And then laughed again
And again
And smiled
At being happy
In the sunshine
Without care
Without restriction
As another shouting mother
Screamed a denial of ice cream
That will spoil the brat’s dinner
As I sipped slowly
On the hoppy magic
Of my India Pale Ale

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