First: Act of Desperation

When Gordon left and took Helen with him, I moved with Eddie Rankine to a flat by the sea. The weather was so hot, hotter than I ever remember it being.

That night - the air so still, the distant glow of the fires over the hills, you could taste the smoke in the air. Makeshift beds littered the yards of the houses we passed, people trying to survive the long hot night. Occasionally someone would stir in their sleep as we passed, the pur of the car the only sound breaking the silence.

We arrive and Eddie waits in the taxi, watching as I enter through the front yard, I know that the back gate is too noisy for this act. I fumble with the latch on the side gate slightly, waiting, no-one stirs and I'm quickly through.

They are all asleep in the back yard. The baby’s cot is by the back porch and Gordon’s sister Jean is on a mattress a few feet from her. Gordon is near the fig tree and his parents lie closer to the tennis court. I move quietly to Helen and I take her from the cot. I take her because she is mine.

The baby cried all the way home and I didn’t know what to do to comfort her. I held her unfamiliar body to me, clucking and cooing, but she glared at me, indignant at the pretense. I felt awkward. An imposter.

Within two hours, as dawn broke, Gordon was at the flat to take her back.