Richard Pierce

Poetry

Birthday Talk

‘Fourteen.’

‘Fourteen?’

‘Fourteen!’

‘Years?’

‘Years.’

‘Not months?’

‘Not months.’

‘You must feel old.’

‘I do feel old.’

‘Very old, I mean.’

‘Well, not that old.’

‘Really?’

‘Well, maybe. I was young then. My wife told me on my fortieth birthday.’

‘Nice present.’

‘Better than you think. The plan finally worked.’

‘The plan?’

‘To have four instead of three.’

‘Oh.’

Shrugs. ‘She wanted six.’

‘Six?’

‘Six.’

‘And why not?’

‘It didn’t work out.’

‘Why?’

‘The risk of death and such things.’

‘Oh.’ Puts hand over mouth and turns away.

‘Am I boring you?’

‘No.’ Turns back. Mouth opens.

‘You asked.’

‘I was being polite.’

‘That’s never enough.’

‘And they’re all well? All things straightforward?’

‘Do you have any children?’

‘Erm, no.’

‘I’ll leave it to your imagination then.’ Smiles, turns away, one hand in empty pocket, one on full heart.

R, 25/02/2015 – for Alex on her birthday

2 Comments

  1. Margaret Skea

    27th February 2015 at 07:02

    Love this, except rather poignant for me as I also wanted four kids but sadly had to stop at three (risk of death and things – 3 sections + complications). However I learnt to be very grateful for the three we have – youngest now 30. Do I feel old? As you say, Richard, 'Not that old.'

  2. richard pierce

    27th February 2015 at 11:01

    Oh, I'm sorry, Margaret. We have been very lucky, and even luckier to have an experienced midwife at birth of no4 otherwise I'd have been a single parent. I'm glad you don't feel old, because that's cheered me no end. 🙂 R

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