FLEUR

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium


The end of a relationship leaves Saffie not only distraught, but in the grip of alcohol addiction. Can she get her life back on track?

Submitted: December 04, 2017

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Submitted: December 04, 2017

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FLEUR

Saffie woke up and silenced the alarm on her phone. She lay for a few moments, aware of the thumping in her head and the familiar thick fog of a hang-over. As always, she was filled with guilt… if she had been a more adventurous lover and less obsessive, maybe he wouldn’t have looked elsewhere. It had been six months since Tim had jilted her, but her pain and sense of loss was as intense as ever. Her life-long fragile self-esteem meant she always questioned herself… she was not good enough, not worthy.

As her parents’ only child, their expectations of her had been high. Consequently their disappointment had been a constant in her life, but she was a caring girl who eventually found her niche and went on to become a qualified and capable midwife. Work was one aspect of her life where her expertise had given her confidence… it was her alter ego.

Initially, Tim had found her insecurities appealing. As a typical alpha male, her need to please him and her over-zealous domesticity gave him the freedom to go to the gym or the pub after work, knowing there would be a hot meal waiting for him on his return. He also found her attractive and sexy, and when he proposed to her, she had been ecstatic. For a while their living arrangement worked, but her anxieties soon began to grate.

A month before their wedding, Tim called time on their relationship, said his feelings for her had changed and their relationship was over. It later transpired that he had been two timing Saffie with her close friend Lily… a bitter blow to her self-esteem that had left her reeling.

She began to drown her sorrows in drink… a couple of glasses of wine every evening, over time, had been replaced with generous measures of gin.

She dragged herself out of bed, staggered into the bathroom and stood under the shower, turning her face towards the fierce jets. After drying her curly auburn hair she pulled it into a pony-tail then set about the daily ritual of disguising her alcohol ravaged face. After putting drops in her eyes, she masked the dark circles that had formed under them with concealer. Taking a kohl eye liner pencil, she then outlined her eyes to achieve a more wide awake appearance and finally covered her blotchy complexion with a thick layer of foundation. Satisfied with her transformation, she placed two paracetamol tablets on her tongue and washed them down with a swig of gin. She then placed the gin bottle in her bag, popped an extra strong mint in her mouth and left for work. She knew the risks she was taking, knew she could lose her job, but did not have the strength or the resolve to stop.

***************

“Tim, I’m pregnant,” Lily announced, handing him the pregnancy test.

“What? Are you sure?”

“Yes, look… its positive.”

Tim tossed the test into the bin and stared at her with blazing eyes. “You said you were on the pill.”

“I thought you’d be pleased,” she replied, averting her hazel eyes from his scrutiny.

He moved closer, his breath hot on her face. “I repeat… you said you were on the pill, so what happened.”

“I… I… wanted us to be a family.”

“You stupid bitch… what about what I want. You tricked me… get rid of it.” The force of his palm against her cheek sent her stumbling backwards. She steadied herself and calmly met his gaze. “Tim, just leave… now! I will raise my baby on my own. I thought it would be a nice surprise, well at least I’ve seen your true colours.

********************

Saffie changed into her work gear, then joined the team for the hand-over briefing at the nurse’s station. “Lily Faulkner room twenty five, gave birth to a baby girl an hour ago. No complications, discharge pending satisfactory assessment. Saff can you follow up?”

Her heart hammered, could it be a coincidence? Could they have had a child? When the briefing was over, she quickly made her way to the locker room and took a swig of gin in an attempt to steady her nerves. 

Lily was gazing down with adoration at the tiny baby cradled in her arms. She looked up with tired eyes. “Saff, I hoped I would see you. You need to know that when Tim found out I was pregnant he left me and I haven’t seen him since. He doesn’t want anything to do with the baby. For financial reasons I had to move back in with Mum, which is not ideal but, you know what, we both had a lucky escape, he’s a selfish, violent cad and we are both well rid of him. I will be raising Fleur on my own and really hope we can be friends again.”

"Can I hold her?"

As she cradled Fleur, Saffie’s eyes misted. “I dreamt of having a family one day with Tim. I put him on a pedestal, idolised him. But now, for the first time since he left, I’m glad he did.”

She gently placed the baby in her cot and hugged her friend. “Lil, If you ever need help with Fleur, you know where I am. I would love to be part of her life.”

“Saff, have you been drinking?”

She averted her eyes in shame. “Okay, I’ll level with you; I’ve been a real mess since Tim walked out and, yes, I’ve been drinking too much, far too much… it helps to dull the pain, fills a void even though I know it’s not the answer.”

“I’m so sorry Saff. He told me you had split up. Look, if you want to be part of Fleur’s life, then promise me you’ll quit the booze.”

Saffie experienced a glimmer of hope for the future. “I promise.”

“You know you could get the sack if you got found out.”

“I know, but now I have an incentive, I’ll do it for you and Fleur.”

********************

“Momma, will I be bridesmaid and wear a pretty dress when you marry Mummy Saff?” Five year old Fleur asked.

“Of course, honey. You can even choose it yourself."

 


© Copyright 2019 Sue Harris. All rights reserved.

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