SCARS - 3rd Prize - Emily Makere Broadmore
Huge congratulations to Emily for winning 3rd prize with her beautifully crafted, and powerful second-person narrative, A Reclamation of Life:
A RECLAMATION OF LIFE
by Emily Makere Broadmore
You are six weeks post-partum and you’ve just had a Brazilian wax.
Between your legs you are swollen, not by baby, but by arousal. It begins deep in your groin and spirals through your belly, your heart. Thrashing its way out from between your swollen leaking breasts.
You are wearing a tampon. Because sometimes there is still some blood. But not much.
Mostly, it’s arousal.
You still can’t sit up easily, so you roll your way off the beautician's table, stagger upright and look at yourself in the mirror at the end of the room. Your arse is more rounded than it used to be, but your stomach is flatter. Flatter than it’s ever been. Despite the thin line across your abdomen.
Motherhood suits you. It’s filled out the parts that used to be coltish, and flattened the parts that were once soft with alcohol and youthful living.
For the first time in your life, you feel sexy.
You stop at the bottle store on your way home. Champagne, you decide. A little Death in the Afternoon perhaps. An old favourite. Hemmingway. The surrealist movement. Something about these things attracts you to the liquor and makes up for the fact it tastes like cough syrup. You wander into the chilled aisle for sparkling water. The coolness hits you between your thighs, and you press your legs together under your dress.
The house is quiet when you arrive home. It smells of milk. Always of milk. You had carpet cleaners through last week and still the smell lingers. Motherhood seeping from the carpet. No one else seems to mind. Your mother-in-law even purchased a room diffuser for you. A fancy reed one.
Powered musk. Just like a baby’s bottom.
You threw it in the rubbish bin.
You find Adrian lying topless on the white linen couch in the sunroom. He is handsome, your husband. Everyone says so. Everyone also said white would be a silly colour when you are expecting a child. But you wanted a white couch. White everything. Except when you wanted a small amount of grey.
You pad softly over the carpet and sink down onto your husband. His arms catch you, position you. His lips brush your cheek. You feel safe and loved. Underneath the long cotton folds of your sundress your bare legs rub together. You feel wet.
You run a hand down his front.
The baby, you ask.
Asleep, he says. 120ml of formula. A new record. Two burps and fast asleep.
Your heart burns with love. With desire. For you have fallen in love with your husband all over again. Watching him tend to the small bundle as the doctors stitched you up while you vomited green bile into a small plastic tub.
It reminded you of absinthe, that vomit. Intoxicating and dangerous. Just like awe and love.
You run a hand enquiringly down Adrian’s front. The hairs across his chest are short, grey and curly. You like the grey. He is your wizened owl. You would trust your life with no one else. You nuzzle into his chest, sniffing deeply.
His scent is masked by the musk of milk.
That night you wait for him in bed. Naked. Hoping he will come. For he hasn’t touched you, not in that way, in months. That’s why you are spending too much time in your hot pants, pushing the pram through Brooklyn park at 7am on weekday mornings.
There was one moment when you were heavily pregnant, maybe seven months, when Adrian came into your room late one night and knelt between your legs. Your orgasm began before he’d even sunk his entire mouth on to you. So intensely, so deeply, did you want him. But that was all. That was it. His final gift to you as a woman before you became a mother.
And now he murmurs at your touch.
Love, he says, I am so tired.
You meet your friend Katie for coffee at your local café the next morning. Sam, the barista, is barely out of university and flirts with you. You like to think