"The day you were born"
"She was surprised when I told her you were my first baby even though she shouldn’t have been. I was nineteen. She should have been surprised I wasn’t in school."
Short story. The Unpublished City Anthology. Curated by Dionne Brand. Toronto: Bookhug, June 2017. Short-listed for the Toronto Book Awards 2018.
This little piece of flash fiction published in an anthology alongside seventeen incredible emerging writers & curated by the renowned Dionne Brand is an excerpt drawn from the novel I've been working on (for what feels like) forever.
The passage is from the point of view of the narrator's mother, Dawn. She is speaking to disappointing, misbehaving, and too-curious-for-her-own-good fifteen-year-old daughter, Claire.
What inspired the piece, and the novel as a whole, was a distinct memory of my youngest aunt with her newborn baby boy - I was nineteen. She let me hold him and he was so little. He cackled painfully. His face was scrunched up. His eyes barely opened. She said, "His skin's never felt air before. His little digestive system has never digested food before. Everything in this world is new to him. Everything still hurts." And I thought, how terrifying and strange and sad, for the newness of life to be so painful.
Read the story by purchasing a copy of The Unpublished City here.