Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Smashed Cup

I opened the cupboard the other day, one of the cups that had been balancing precariously on top of the others came crashing out, landing on the worktop, breaking in two.

I sighed. It was Alice's Charlie and Lola cup. Fine bone China. Smashed. Useless.

It upset a little bit. You see that cup was not only Alice's cup, it had previously been Emily's and there was a bit of history there. I sat back and remembered the day I bought it...

I was miles away from home in Milton Keynes. I had been away for four weeks training with work, home at weekends. Emily was four, and my parents had agreed to have her while I completed my training. It was a pretty big deal. I was a lone parent, had just bought my own house and I wanted to progress with my career in industry. I was tenacious, fighting for promotion so that me and Em could have a better life.

It was all about money, of course - but it always is - when you've got none.

But this was a big deal. I would be doubling my wages with this promotion, they gave me a phone, a car...

But still I was miles from home and I missed my baby girl. It was Friday and I was due to drive home that afternoon. Home for good. To my new job, to our new life. I had passed all my finance exams and was ready to start my new job.

I had an hour to kill and I was tired and emotional. Excited. Self-important. Sad. The River is Wild by The Killers blasted out of the speakers in WHSmith as I wandered around, pretty aimlessly.

Run for the hills before they burn
Listen to the sound of the world
Watch it turn

I look at the books, magazines. The Killers blaring. It's too loud.

Or should I just get along with myself
I never did get along with anybody else
I've been trying hard to know what's right

Tears spring to my eyes because I don't know what I'm doing and I don't know where I'm going, and whether any of this is for the best. I'm alone in Milton Keynes training for this job, I miss my girl, I miss my home. I'm alone. I'm always alone. And without Emily I'm nothing.

Then I spot on the shelf a Charlie & Lola cup. Emily loved Charlie and Lola. It says, in childish handwriting "I am not sleepy and I will not go to bed."


I pull myself together and reach for the cup. It is £8. There is a gift bag. It is £4. I buy both because as right or as wrong as this career move may be, I have the money to pay for anything we want.


I put the cup in the bin, but not before taking a photo.

Sometimes we make big decisions in our lives. As a lone parent, mine were perhaps harder to make. At least they seemed that way to me at the time.


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