The Whole Story

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I just found this that I wrote in March.

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This is what happened.

We slept together for the first time in late September. Then a couple more times in October and few more times in November and early December. It was nothing special. It could have stopped when I went home for Christmas. In January it continued.

February was a turning point, like the emergence of spring, although it snowed. The Paris snow turned quickly to grey slush. People asked questions. It’s hazy in my mind. I went on holiday to Naples and kissed an Italian. I came home to his bed. It started to feel like we might be in a relationship. 

In late spring/early summer I asked, nestled drunk in his bed, if we were going out. We very clearly were going out.

He said, That’s a serious question. 

I didn’t get a straight answer. Neither of us, apparently, wanted to have sex with anyone else. But he didn’t want to call me his girlfriend. 

The next day I wouldn’t speak to him. We had goodbye drinks and joints with a friend who was leaving and I went back to a friend’s apartment and cried. 

I wrote him a short letter of apology. 

We carried on as we were. 

We spent the whole summer together, in France and England. I think I might have fallen in love with him.

One night he came home from his mum’s depressed and wouldn’t have sex with me. He missed his ferry the next day to spend some time with his mum. I didn’t see him for a week. 

On returning to Paris, looking back I saw less of him, but at the time thought it was simply that I was less busy and so noticed his absence. I had few other friends and only worked from 4.30pm so spent lots of time alone. We often met on his lunch breaks but not as much in the evenings. I finished work late and was often tired (pregnant!) so didn’t think much of it. 

In October my friend told me another friend had spotted him on the metro with a blonde girl. I messaged him saying I’d heard some rumours about him, not believing that it was anything.

He told me it was a girl from work. They met for a French-English exchange. There had been two girls there. She had been flirty with him. He’d said he was with me. It was nothing. He was sorry he hadn’t told me. He even made up a name for her. 

I wrote him a letter. 

I don’t believe that this was nothing – why wouldn’t you tell me? Your best friend is your ex – so why would you lie about this? Why wouldn’t you invite me even? I invite you to everything. Obviously we don’t have to (and shouldn’t) do everything together all the time, but why wouldn’t you say anything. I don’t want to find out about things about you from Riley, or from anyone else. Do you want to go out with me? If you don’t want then let’s just be friends. I don’t want to go out with someone who doesn’t want to go out with me. I know that I’m not good with talking and being honest about how I feel, I think we should both be more upfront about what we want. Sometimes I feel like you’re really secretive and I don’t feel like I can talk about these things with you – because I’m bad at being open and also knowing what I want (making decisions!), but also because I feel like you don’t want to talk about real feelings or anything serious and uncomfortable like that. Sometimes I do think things have to be labelled, otherwise you end up in these sort of situations where you don’t know what you’re allowed to do. I feel like I don’t trust you now – like how many times do you meet people and lie to me. I think we’ve needed to have a chat for a while, maybe you feel confused about what we are too and I don’t think you trust me either, but ever since that time that I asked you if we were going out and I felt rebuffed by your response, I don’t want to bring anything up. I know that you like me but I feel like you don’t want to officially go out with me – I feel like it’s because you don’t like me enough, but maybe it’s because you’re scared of getting hurt, or because you don’t know how I feel, or because you’re waiting for something better. I don’t want to marry you! I just want to stop feeling insecure! Obviously we had a weird start to our relationship and maybe that set a precedent from then on. I never wanted to properly like you because you had a reputation and I always assumed it would continue to be a ‘friends with benefits’ situation, so if I seemed not nice or not committed to you, it’s because I was protecting myself. Maybe you were right and I was looking for the next best thing, but if that was the case it was because I didn’t want to get hurt. We are definitely in a more intense situation being in Paris – maybe I rely on you too much. I want us to get on but I want you to be honest with me. Sometimes the way you act makes me feel a bit shit. I know you’re a really good nice person (I think you should be more confident in yourself and maybe I should compliment you more – maybe I don’t try hard enough to make you feel good about yourself) and of course you know that I have my faults (!), and I don’t want you to think that I think badly of you because I don’t, I think very highly of you. Sometimes I think we would be better off just as friends. 

He read the letter. He said I was his best friend and his girlfriend. 

It was all forgotten.

That same month he went to London for a long weekend for a his grandad’s funeral. I hadn’t had a period in 3 weeks but had just come off the pill so assumed it was normal. As I was going out drinking on the Saturday, I decided to buy a test on the Friday to do on the Saturday morning. I felt ridiculous buying the test. Obviously I wasn’t pregnant. I had been so tired and felt a bit under the weather that week, like I was fighting something off. Tim had said he was unwell so I thought nothing of it. Obviously I wasn’t pregnant. 

It was positive. 

That night I went to a bar with some friends, one of whom I’d told about the positive pregnancy test. That night I heard just how friendly he had been with this blonde girl. 

He messaged and called that night. I didn’t answer. 

I did another test. It was positive.

He kept messaging. He was worried. I said I didn’t want to see him for a week or two. I needed a break. It was nothing to do with him. I just wanted some time on my own. There was no need to worry. 

I went to a doctor with my friend Katie to confirm the pregnancy, but he was a pervert and I paid 25 euros to be sexually harassed. 

We had a beer on the steps by the Sacre Coeur looking out over Paris. It was the annual wine festival and it was sunny. I messaged him to tell him I was pregnant. 

He was on the way to his Eurostar but missed it and stayed the night with his dad in London. 

I told him about what I had heard of him with this blonde girl. He wanted to call me but I didn’t want to speak to him. I was crying and I had to babysit. 

He told me he was so sorry. It had been nothing. Just flirting. It was nothing. He would come round after work the next day. 

He brought chocolate, red wine and a potted flower. I don’t remember what sort of flower it was. We made dinner and had sex on the floor. 

I told him I wanted an abortion. But I think I knew even then that I would keep it. I just couldn’t bring myself to say it. 

After going back to the UK and cancelling our holiday to Croatia and then not going for the abortion, I came back to Paris and he met me at the train station and he was so nice and affectionate. It was a Saturday night. The next day he left after a coffee to help a friend move house. I told him I was homesick. I didn’t want to be on my own. I spent the day ignoring the fact that he had left me on my own.

On the Tuesday he was working from home and I went to his for lunch. We went for a walk. He seemed sad. I kept asking what was wrong. He said nothing. He was fine. We went back to his. Suddenly he had his arms round me and was crying. He wanted to go for another walk. He bought cigarettes in a Tabac while I waited outside. We walked with our arms around each other’s waists and he smoked. 

He told me he’d had two girlfriends for the past year. 

I remember it took a few seconds before I dropped my arm from his waist. 

We were walking towards the metro. I had to go and pick the girls up from school. 

He told me her name. She’s from Brighton as well, he said.

I said, Wasn’t that the girl you were seeing before?

I said, crying, I was going to have an abortion for you.

I got on the metro to go to work. We messaged after that. There were so many questions. 

I thought I would never stop crying. I thought the baby must be dead. I thought I would cry so much it would bleed out of me. It would be deformed with pain.

I thought, I’ll get over this.

The next week we met for a drink and I was over it. Was it the next week? Or was it only that weekend? The Saturday or Sunday. Four or five days. I was over it. I was over it. He was pathetic. I was fine. 

He told me he would tell her the next Sunday. 

She had a problem with her landlord and moved in with him.

He told me he had told her. She cried and hit him, he said.

I didn’t know she had moved in with him.

I called him one night, upset beause I had lost something, crying on the phone.

He said, Hang on, and hung up. 

A couple of hours later, he messaged to say that was the first time he had told her.

I told him I never wanted to see him again. 

I wanted to cut him.

She texted me and wanted to meet. 

I wanted to be over it. I was over it. I was fine. I had other things to think about. I was pregnant. I was busy. There were Youtube videos to watch. There was food shopping to do. I was fine. I played music and sang along. I wore makeup. I was fine and he wasn’t because he was fucked up. 

I was fine.

I thought I was fine. 

We were together all Christmas. I met his mum and brother and his brother’s girlfriend. He met all my extended family on Christmas day. Then he went back to Paris and I cried every day for hours on end. 

Letters to baby 5

Letters to Baby

Sorry I don’t know what I’m doing.

How can you bring a whole other person into the world when you are not so sure about the world yourself?

It’s probably a little late to be having these thoughts.

You are 30 weeks old inside me. About 10 more weeks until you are here. That’s not scary at all!

You are so lucky, baby, that you will be born here. You will not be hungry, you will not be in fear for your life. You will grow pampered and spoiled and sad. Pregnancy has made me especially sad with the world. We have so much potential! We could make utopia! We have so much knowledge but maybe not enough wisdom.

I’m sorry, baby, you will wonder at this world you were brought into.

Maybe you can help change it. Maybe it will get better. Maybe we will stop killing everything.

I would like for us to build a little house in a warm country away from the city and to live off the land. But I can’t do that on my own because I am an idiot. I don’t know anything. Without the internet I am nothing. This is the humanity we have made. As a whole we have so much knowledge, but individually we can’t survive on our own land.

Everything is made convenient for us, we can watch any video on Youtube in the blink of an eye, but there is no soul to our lives, there is no meaning, and we are all sad.

Give me hope, baby, with your strange bubbling movements, with the cramped feeling that is you under my ribs. You are a miracle to exist and isn’t that what we all need, one miracle, just one, and we know the miraculous, the divine, and we have hope then, that anything can happen.

I have to stop now, I can’t look at a screen for long anymore. In the first trimester, when you were just a little bean, I was plagued with eye-strain-like headaches and couldn’t glance at my phone without feeling sick. I hope this doesn’t start up again, because I need to search for a life for us and the only place I know where to look is the internet!

Questions re. your private complicated love life that you don’t want to explain to every Tom, Dick, Sally and Mary because you WILL CRY

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When you’re pregnant anyone will just ask you intimate questions about your romantic life as casual chat. Also strangers just assume you’re in a relationship with your baby’s dad even though you could have literally been raped or he could have died or you could be a lesbian.

Were you on the pill?

So where’s the dad?

What does your boyfriend think?

Are you going to move in together?

Are you married?

Are you sleeping together?

Where is the dad?

Do you love him?

Did you consider abortion?

Are you dating?

Where’s the dad?

Reasons to get pregnant

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I like being pregnant because I can send my ex (the one who I still sleep with and whose mum cooks us dinner when he’s in town) 25 messages at a time and not feel any shame or regret. This is actually an excellent, although possibly unhealthy, reason to consider abstaining from contraception. An example below.

I like being pregnant because you can watch Celebs Go Dating every evening and not have any social life and it’s absolutely fine. You don’t get told off for not drinking or for being boring or for going home at 7.30pm because it’s bedtime really soon.

A good reason to get pregnant is that you can blame being awful at your job on baby brain! I started my job 5 months pregnant so no one knows that I’m clueless even without the hormones and shrinking brain (apparently your brain shrinks).

A letter to him

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This is how I feel all the time.

I am sorry. I am sorry that I kept the baby and now your life will be changed forever. I am sorry that you might have to move back to the UK and give up your dream of France for a while.

I am not sorry. Use a condom.

I am not sorry that I didn’t have an abortion for you.

I am not sorry when my baby kicks inside me.

I love you. I will always love you. You’re the father of my child and my best friend. But these are all the contraries that I feel.

If I had not been pregnant I would never have seen you again. Although me and her would not have found out, for maybe a very long time, or maybe forever, the whole truth at least. So I would have kept seeing you, until I left Paris or your lies were somehow revealed or one of us bored of the other. I think this baby was a good thing for you. Now you can sort your head out.

I told you that once I had the abortion I never wanted to see you again. You cried but that evening you would be back with her and you would never have had to reveal the lie.

You weren’t there for me. You weren’t there for me when I needed you.

As the abortion date drew nearer and I told you how I felt about it, you said you felt you should be there… to make sure that I went through with it.

You said you could come the Thursday night and leave on the Saturday. The abortion was booked for the Friday morning. I said don’t bother.

You went to the cinema and had sex with her after I told you I was keeping it and you were going to have a child. You had dinner with her mum and you were going to have a child with somebody else.

How can I be with you when I think you would rather be with her? How can I be with you when I know you would lie to save my feelings, for fear I would take your child?

How can I be with you when you would rather be in France than be with me?

But how can I get over you when you come back to my bed? How can I move on when I am at home with a baby on my tit?

I am angry. I think if you want to be involved then be fully involved. Will you buy nappies with me? Will you buy a pram? Will you be there for the nights?

No? Then don’t bother coming back at all.

I’m sorry. I’m not angry.

I don’t need you. This was my choice. I made this decision alone and I knew the consequences of that. If you’re there to babysit sometimes, then great. If not, that’s fine.

I need you. I don’t want to do this on my own. I want to be a happy family. I want us to make decisions together.

What do you want? Just tell me what you want.

I could do better than you.

I would be better off alone.

I don’t want to be alone.

All that matters is this baby and I need to stop thinking about you.