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  • Writer's pictureClaire Freeman


As a child, I would talk to you through my toys. They were my children, and flea-markets were where I found the abused ones. The ones that smelt funny, musky pee with one button eye, they were my whanau, my children, my tamariki.

You were always in my plan, but I needed to make things perfect. You needed a home, food, and opportunities.

Even when the dust settled after that fateful day in November, when I closed my eyes and awoke in a new body, you were still there. Waiting.

My first wheelchair was slightly too big, but I reasoned that in case you were coming early, I needed to be prepared, so I prepped my new metal-wheel legs and forced myself to envisage our meeting. You were my drive, you made me pick myself up, you were hope.

I fumbled my way through my twenties, educating myself so I could provide for you. We were not going to be that statistic, the poor, uneducated wheelchair bound misfit, surplus to requirements in our harsh, neoliberal world.

Towards the end of my twenties, I readied myself for your arrival. All my life I wanted to meet you. Although I had talked to you, you were still hidden inside. Waiting.

As I tried to open that pathway for you, I felt under attack. They asked me, was I worthy? They told me I was not. I could not be. The 'excess needed trimming', yet I held on.

He would have to look after you. I was unfit. I was not prepared. And I believed them, blindly, because what did I know?

The thirties were a heartbreaking blur of broken promises, broken dreams, and in the distance, I saw the clock of time. Ticking.

This little piggy went to market, this one never came home.

And I tried. I put you first, before my body, before my mind. Even when forced open, I told myself, through my tears, that you would come. You had too. So I waited.

As time passed, the clock became louder. I finally sought help, only to be told I should not. I could not. I was not enough.

They said you would climb into my oven, they said I would kill you accidently because I was not complete. I wasn’t a woman, I was a cyborg. I was everything they feared; paralysed, no quality of life, a burden on all.

What the fuck did they know? How dare they presume to understand me, to know me. They can judge me, but my deficits were my superpowers. They were blind. Ethics, what a joke.

I still fought and we came so close meeting. The pills, injections, splaying my legs to retrieve what was necessary for you to arrive. I would have done it again a million time over...

Now that hope is a burnt amber colour. A receding sunset, beautiful, wistful, melancholic as the sky darkens around me, like a stifling cloak.

Hope lives on inside, but it’s strangled, caught in the misdemeanors of my past, trapped in the discourses that told me I was not worthy of you.

I wish I never listened to those who doubted my abilities. Anger, resentment, like a cancer, it is eating me up. They were all wrong. How unfair as they sit in their ivory towers with their stock, taking stock. Their churlish smiles raining on my heartache, sometimes I feel they won. Their rhetoric won. But only my body was defeated, they never tore down my mind.

And as I sit in my lonely barren state, I see others enjoying their fruits. Sometimes I cannot bear it, sometimes, I just hide. Sometimes, I wish you were never real, but you are, even now.

My darling child. My darling baby. You’re caught in my fucked-up world and I fear you’re trapped now. I no longer think we will meet, yet I dream we do, one day. One day my little one, we will meet. We will walk together... let me take you by the hand, away from here to another land..

You needed love. You needed respect. You needed security. You needed me as much as I needed you.

We were never going to be normal my love, but that’s ok, because normal is overrated. So I’m sorry my little one, my Eva forever. I love you, stillborn yet beautiful, perfect.

I cannot let you go. I will never let you go. You have my heart, you always did.

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