He was four when she lost him, tomorrow he will be eight.
Her own mother had died, a loss she cushioned with increasing alcohol before being dismissed from work, excused from her marriage, and barred from motherhood. Without the strength to claw her way back, he has been without her for half his life. He probably has no memories of her, just fleeting glimpses of the shadows she cast during his babyhood.
As she darts down dark alleyways, she hopes his dad is wrapping birthday presents in colored paper. She doesn’t know what she would give him, if she could.
Hannah England has written for The Guardian, the Same journal, SpillWords Press and Our Queer Stories.