Story 29Button 29



She pushed the cardy to the back of the drawer, still in the bag. She’d gone for the white one, in case it was a boy. A girl in blue was okay, but a boy in pink wasn’t right. It was soft and cute, with little golden buttons with flowers on them. And only £1.99. It was on a tiny hanger, which would’ve come in handy but she said no when the woman on the checkout asked her did she want it. The woman looked her up and down but she knew she wasn’t showing. Her mum’s mate Donna worked here but so far she hadn’t seen her. Next time she’d go to the Asda on Wilton Road.

When he came out it didn’t hurt much. No worse than a bad period. Her mum was downstairs, guffawing on the phone. She heard her coming up the stairs still shrieking, then the squeak and clunk of the bathroom door, and after a while the toilet flush and the tap running. “Goin’ out,” her mum shouted as she clumped back down the stairs and slammed the front door.

He was slippy so she left him on the carpet and reached for her nail scissors. She chopped at the cord - she knew what to do from that film they’d had to watch at school. He didn’t make much noise. When he did it sounded more like a cat. But what if he started bawling? Ryan hadn’t been round for ages. She’d seen him with that Tania Murphy. And her mum would go ape. She put him on the bed, below the pillow. His tiny thing looked like a button, or a toggle off a duffel coat. She giggled and thought of Ryan’s. To be honest she hadn’t actually seen it. Next time would be more romantic.

After a while she got some kitchen roll and wiped him down and scooped up the mess, threw it all down the toilet. She’d not got any nappies yet so she wrapped some kitchen roll round his little bum. She dressed him in his two babygrows – the only other things she’d bought – and buttoned the cardy over them. One button was missing  – she hadn’t noticed that. Her old Hello Kitty schoolbag was still hanging on the back of her door. It was pink of course but never mind now.

When she got back it was dark. She was panting heavily but there was no one around. It would be hours before her mum was back, if at all. The moon was low down in the sky, big and round and smudgy like his face. Something caught her eye on the step. The missing button. How’d that got there? As she bent to pick it up she felt a sharp pain down there. She stood for a while, rubbing her thumb gently over the raised flower pattern, until her breathing slowed and the pain eased. Then she flicked the button like a cigarette butt over next-door’s fence.



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