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Empty Nester

Empty Nester

Lauryn Stevens

Sitting in her kitchen, I’m waiting for the interrogation to begin. She is busy making green tea and snack, but it is coming, it always does.
‘I was talking to Sue the other day,’ she says. Oh no, here we go… ‘And Megan’s ready to pop any day now.’ Great. This is how it starts, by bringing up Sue’s knocked up daughter. I know of her. I've heard. She actually has more kids than she does brain cells.
‘Oh right, did they decide to find out the gender?’ Like it even matters at this point, after having four girls is there any point in finding out when we all know. It’s going to be another girl.
‘Yeah they’re having another girl.’
‘Brave fuckers.’ I mean it. Brave. Five girls in a three bedroom council house in the middle of Hag Fold?Sounds like paradise. I'm about to say so but I'm interrupted. She joins me at the circular table, sitting across from me.
‘At least they’re not waiting until it’s too late,’ she says. She looks at me with a slight pout and raised eyebrow.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘Well, your dad and I are waiting…’
‘A grandchild, Ciera.’
‘You’re gonna be waiting a while.’
‘You don’t have a while.’

And there it is, all over again. The arguing back and forth. I'll explain my position. She’ll bring up her friend who couldn't have children naturally at 38 and who had to have IVF. I'll tell her I've got years of fertility rolling out ahead of me. She'll tell me she saw on the news that premature menopause is on the rise. And I’ll argue about how I’m not ready, I’ve got plans. I'll be travelling for one. It wouldn't be fair to take a baby across the world with me, let alone impractical. Even she can't argue with that.

But she does start to cry. And then in a great big blubbery mess she starts talking again. How she misses having children around. And I’ll get up and leave and shout through the door, that maybe, just maybe, this is more to do with me than it is her. Maybe, just maybe, I don’t want kids at all.

That is, however not the end of it. I'm ready to repeat in two months’ time.

Lauryn Stevens is a student at the University of Chester, studying Creative Writing and English Literature. She has previously been published in Winstanley College’s charity anthologies.

previous reviews & comments:

'A peek into the pressure of young women to conform to a given ‘ideal’. Enjoyed it. Nicely done.'
Tammy Hines, 2019

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