I Want Doesn’t Get
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 generate 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 was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, was published in 2017. “I Want Doesn’t Get” will appear in her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity launches on Facebook on November 23rd, 2018, where the more people participate the more she’ll donate to Book Aid International. A former clinical psychologist, Anne is also a book blogger with a particular interest in fictional therapists.