by Anne Goodwin
I wanted cheesecake and a chocolate fountain but I didn’t want to pop the button on my best black skirt. I wanted a bronze plaque on a bench beside the bowling green and souvenir service sheets on embossed paper with a photo at the front.
I wanted a poem in the paper but my sister thought it sentimental and swapped it for prose. I wanted rosewood with brass handles but she insisted plywood would suffice. I wanted lilies but my sister didn’t want the smell.
I wanted a spa with a grand conservatory but my sister booked the function room at the local pub. I wanted Abide With Me but my sister can’t abide it. I don’t want an argument but I’m sick of being overruled.
I want doesn’t get our mother used to say, so I tucked my wants away while awaiting my reward. I watched my sister get, and plenty, so why did I miss out?
I would’ve wanted to go to college if I’d got the grades. I would’ve wanted a white wedding if anyone had proposed. I would’ve wanted to travel if I wasn’t so scared. I would’ve wanted my own life if Mum hadn’t wanted me in hers.
I want a glass of sherry but I’m drinking tea. I don’t want to be trapped in a corner by my mother’s friends from church. I want someone to ask how I’m feeling as if they really want to know. I want to be born again in my sister’s skin.
I want her to forget where she left her handbag. I want her not to notice her keys have gone astray. We both know she can’t get into her penthouse apartment without them. She can’t unlock her brand-new coupé.
I want her not to guess where I hid them. But I want doesn’t always get. So I’m learning to create my own getting. It can’t be difficult; my sister’s done it all her life.
I don’t care whether she learns anything in the process. I don’t care if she finds her keys or not. But she’ll have to dig deep to retrieve them. Because I wanted to bury them within the folds of our mother’s shroud.
Anne Goodwin’s debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was published in July 2015 by Inspired Quill. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, is scheduled for May 2017. Anne is also a book blogger and author of 70 published short stories.