Beach photo Ziggy temporary memorialDear Ziggy,

Happy birthday.

I’m so sorry we can’t be together today and I can’t quite believe it has been a year since I held you. Sometimes, it feels like it was only a moment ago and if I step through the nearest door I will be back in that little hospital room with you and mammy; other times, it feels like it was a thousand years ago. I can’t say if any feeling is particularly better. It all hurts.

But here we are. One year on.

This past twelve months has been very hard for us but both Mammy and I miss you very much and think of you every day. Mammy is sad sometimes but she’s being very brave.

I hope you are good where I tried to put you safe. I’m so sorry I couldn’t do more.

This universe is a hard place sometimes but it can also be an amazing one and I wish you were here so I could show it to you. I’m still struggling to understand why I’m not planning a first birthday party and I’ve found myself thinking what I might be doing if things were different. Some people in this world think there are many realities, many parallel worlds alongside our own, one for each decision, each possible outcome. Like whether to go to the hospital or wait… Like whether to listen to a midwife or not…

I don’t know whether to believe in such things or not. Sometimes, it feels like it’s so close that I can touch it…

I get off the train from work. The sky is dishwater grey, crisp packets swirl round my feet on the breath of the rain that is on its way and I look up at the baker’s and watch another me, same street but on a bright spring day, going into pick up the cake. It has a dragon on it with a red hide and a gold belly. No one messes with dragons.

I follow the other me. His hair is still long. You like to tug on it. The world flashes grey and colour like a lightening storm, sometimes fast and sometimes with long gaps between like the whole world is holding its breath. We’re at the house before I know it. In our world, its looking tidy at least but the paint is fading and crumbling on the windows and the door is unadorned save for the black paint and faded brass. I see another house though, same building, ten feet and a universe away, windows freshly double-glazed and a brand new front door on which is tied several balloons.

The door is opened by Mammy and I see both: Mammy with her hair streaked with gold and smiling softly; Mammy with her hair streaked with purple and a big grin and you on one hip, looking away from me at something. I watch them go inside: the other me, the other mammy and the other you. I can’t see your face. My imagination always falters at that step.

I don’t wish them ill. I just wish they were us.

Mammy looks at me on the doorstep and asks if I’m OK. The world is drab except for Mammy but you know that. You can see the kaleidoscope of colour over her belly and the possibilities stretching out ahead.

I couldn’t let your birthday pass without sending you another story. Look out for it. Happy birthday.

Mammy and Daddy love you very much. Always.

Nos da, cariad,

Daddy. x

Like what I do? Sign up for my latest updates and receive occasional free fiction.