Yesterday, I posted about a new blog post idea that shall last for the next 26 weeks. A writing exercise using one randomly picked name from the first page of each letter in my tatty, but much loved naming book. I shall use the name meaning to spur a story into life.
The first name I chose from the first page of the A section of my naming book is… Abbie.
Abbie is a diminutive form of Abigail. Abigail means ‘my father’s joy’ or ‘hand maid’ in Hebrew.
My first memory is of my Dad. There is snow, there is my Dad’s smiling face, my hands ache from the cold, and there is a shadow of a woman stretching out over our snow angels. That shadow was my mother’s. Dad told me that was the day before she left us. I have no memory of her face. I’ve seen pictures, but pictures are not the same as a true recollection. I became motherless at three years old, but I gained much more in my relationship with my father. He was my hero, and I was his pride and joy.
My second memory is of waffles. The day after my mother left, Dad made a mountain of the things. Every year on the anniversary of her abandonment, he’d make waffles. Possibly an attempt to lessen the blow. After a few years, it wasn’t about her anymore, and became our Sunday ritual.
When Dad died I was eighteen. Everyone has a moment in their life when the bottom falls out of their world. That was my moment. I was torn between needing him with me and wanting him to be at peace and free from pain. I went on with my half life as an orphan, not letting anyone in, not wanting another ‘moment’ ever again.
Then she turned up. Geri. A rapping on the door woke me in the early hours. I didn’t recognise the tanned, cropped haired woman stood in skinny jeans and a leather jacket. Fancy having to introduce yourself to your own child?
“I’m your Mum,” she said.
“My mother is dead.”
She half smiles. “Is that what he told you?”
“No, that’s what I told myself. Get the hell off of my property and slither back under the rock you crawled out from. You are a ghost.” I slammed the door in her face, climbed back into bed, and slept soundly for the rest of the night.
The next morning she was back again, only this time she had brought me something- a child. A waif of a girl with long, blonde hair, blue eyes, and scuffed knees. She looked just like I did as a child. The girl had nothing but a backpack and a scared look on her face.
“This is your sister,”she said, pulling the girl forward. The girl looked at me through a gap in her fringe. “Well, say hello,” Geri snapped at her.
“Hello,” said a tiny, vulnerable voice.
“I’m Lucy. What’s your name?”
“Okay, Abbie, do you want to go inside for a minute while I speak to your Mum in private?” Abbie warily stepped through the door and disappeared down the hall.
I turned to Geri with venom on my tongue. “What is all this about?” She was already getting back in her car. “Hey, I’m talking to you. Where the hell do you think you are going?”
“I know you won’t let her get sucked into the system. There are forms in her bag, and here’s the number for my solicitor, so you can apply for custodial rights.” She chucked a card out of the window and it landed in the dirt at my feet. “I know you’ll do the right thing.”
I watched her speed off down the street, a sweat trickling down my spine. What do I do? I’m too young to raise a child. Will Geri be back? A million thoughts ran through my head in a millisecond.
Abbie appeared beside me. “Is she gone?”
At least when Geri left me I had Dad. Abbie had no one. Correction- she had me. I wouldn’t let Geri scar my sister anymore than she had already. “Yes, Sweetie, but I promise to look after you, okay?”
Abbie’s solemn face cracked into a smile. “Pinky promise?”
I link my baby finger with hers. “Pinky promise. Right, you look hungry.” She nods. “How about waffles?”
All written works are the property of K.J.Chapman