“More of a po­lar bear when she makes a move, rip­ping her boots free from the park’s frost­ing”

The Herald - Arts - - Arts -

I was five months in when I did it. Could still see my toes when I looked down. But I was def­i­nitely preg­nant enough for peo­ple to no­tice my bump. Or at least, they might have, if they weren’t dis­tracted by the fact that I was naked, or that my stom­ach was cov­ered in black ink. The teams were in po­si­tion wait­ing to start the game and I re­mem­ber think­ing, as I dropped my one-piece to the floor, that if I was quick I might make it to the cen­tre cir­cle be­fore the television cam­eras no­ticed and panned away.

Over the bar­rier and onto the pitch, run­ning, arms out wide, I hardly felt the cold at all. But I did see one of the play­ers; his fa­cial ex­pres­sions as he saw me com­ing. First, shock. Sec­ond, amuse­ment. Third, un­ease – maybe when he re­alised how young I was – that there was noth­ing sexy about this – and fi­nally, hor­ror. I’m sorry he never got to read my mes­sage. I was still some way away when three women in yel­low brought me down, and cheers went up round the ground. But he didn’t need to be any closer. I was dragged from the pitch, scream­ing, cry­ing. Telling him why I was there.

The po­lice let me go be­fore the game was even fin­ished: I could hear it play­ing in the pubs on my walk home. Once in the flat I un­dressed again, took a hot shower and scrubbed the let­ters off my skin one by one, think­ing that maybe, once the sea­son of good­will was over, some­one might lis­ten. Next time I would shorten my mes­sage. Make it big enough for ev­ery­one to see. Hope that 2000 years af­ter His birth, some­thing had changed for peo­ple like me. What else could I do?

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