The hanging

Shoes hanging from a wire, Tofino, Vancouver Island 2019 - photo by Tanya Clarke

Shoes hanging from a wire, Tofino, Vancouver Island 2019 - photo by Tanya Clarke


She walks along small quiet roads pushing the pram as she goes.

The surface of the road is full of bumps and holes and the pavement is uneven. The wheels keep catching the rising edge of every other paving slab while the handles of the pram rattle underneath her hands with each jolt.

The houses are the same. Small red brick terraced houses she sees every day. Each house has a car parked outside; one red, one blue, one silver. Most are silver.

The baby, her baby is red in the face. She scrunches her eyes and opens her mouth into a cry, a cry that makes the mother's breasts leak with milk. Her thin t-shirt becomes damp underneath her jacket as the milk seeps out through her bra.

The mother stops pushing and bends down drawing her fingers lightly over the forehead of her baby. She smiles and coos trying to calm the baby's cries. A whiff of shit, a dirty nappy floats towards her.

A cool raindrop lands on her hand. Then another. And another. And another. She reaches forward for the hood of the pram pulling it over the baby. Her baby. The mother's heart quickens in her chest as she turns the pram around. Above her swings a pair of trainers, scuffed and worn tied together by their laces hanging still over a telephone wire. A splash of brown muddy water washes over her feet as a car drives past. She wipes the rain from her face with her hands before replacing them on the pram handles. They slip a little with the wet as she walks on.

Feeling brave? Want to share your story? In the words of one Disney princess, Let it go, in the comments below.