The door swung open allowing a gust of bitterly cold wind and dead leaves to spill into the room along with a slim woman dressed in an elegant grey suit. There was hardly any evidence of her pregnancy which mildly irritated the group of the more misshapen, soon to be mothers.
“Gosh, sorry I’m late. Got held up at a sales meeting.” Said Gillian
“That’s okay, love. We’ve only just started.” Said Katie. Dressed in a smock she resembled a colourful tent pitched near to the door.
Gillian knelt down beside her. “I’m Gillian, Gillian Davies.” She said shaking Katie’s hand.
“I’m Katie. How long are you gone?”
“Four months, two weeks” Gillian said with businesslike exactness. “First time, Sales Director wasn’t too pleased. You?”
“About 5 months” said Katie vaguely, “fourth kid.”
“Gosh!” said Gillian, digesting this revelation as she joined in the rhythmic, hypnotic breathing exercises.
“Would you care to join me for a coffee at Starbucks? It’s just round the corner.” Said Gillian at the end of the session.
“Thanks, love, but I’ve got to get back, my oldest is minding my two year old.” Said Katie, adding, in case thought of as irresponsible, “Tyler’s seventeen.”
“Please, Katie. I really need to talk to someone. I’m frightened about all this, about being a mother.” Said Gillian. “I know all about sales and marketing, about business. But babies? This will have such a huge impact on my life.”
Kate thought how she would much rather go home, put her feet up and drink tea out of her favourite mug, the one with striped fishes swimming leisurely through the turquoise glaze. A birthday present from Tyler.
But she felt sorry for this poor woman. “Alright love, just for a bit then.” She said with a warm smile. “I’ll just give Tyler a bell and let her know.”
“Oh, thanks Katie, super! I appreciate you doing this.”
And so, over mugs of Caffè Misto, an unlikely friendship evolved as Gillian and Katie talked, not only of motherhood, but also of the great what-ifs of their respective lives. Gillian tearfully confided of when, nearly fifteen years ago, her husband Gerald had persuaded her to have an abortion, and how she had not yet told him that she was again expecting a baby. Katie in turn reflected on how she often wondered what her life would have been like if she had listened to Miss Trent and gone to university. But not too often.
James Nash placed some objects on the table in front of our writing group. A mug, decorated with fishes, a china cup and saucer, a mug with the Direct Sport logo and a Starbucks mug. We had to choose two of the mugs (or a mug and cup and saucer) and use dialogue to define the character of the users. The people in my story were a business woman who would frequent Starbucks and a down to earth mum.