My best friend Kerry fell pregnant when she was 15. She and I had been inseparable since childhood but on the night of her child’s conception she had gone alone to a town dance while I was at home sick. There she danced with the town heartbreaker (who I had been in love with).
One thing led to another and a month after the dance she confided to me that she thought she could be pregnant. Together we bought a pregnancy test so that no-one in the chemist could say for sure which one of us might be pregnant. We did the test at my house during the day when my parents were at work. As the test showed positive, Kerry began to cry. We lived in a small country town and she knew that the town gossip would be unbearable.
Over the next few months, Kerry told her parents and the father of her baby and his family. His family said they didn’t believe her and didn’t want their son to have anything to do with a girl they described as “promiscuous”. I stood by Kerry as best I could but being pregnant, she had to drop out of school and spent most of her time hiding away from town gossip. In February, just as I started year 11, Kerry gave birth to a boy she named Joseph.
She was living with her parents and although we both tried to stay in touch, we drifted further and further apart. In the next couple of years while I was celebrating the end of school and picking a university, she was fretting about getting Joseph to eat enough and trying desperately to move into her own place on government subsidies.
Eventually our contact became limited to a call on birthdays and a card at Christmas. Although I had been around Joseph when he was a baby, I didn’t see him as a child. After four years of very occasional contact, I finished my degree and moved to London. I ended up staying 12 years, getting a great job in international banking and marrying a man called Michael.
But everything changed when I found out through a friend that Michael had been unfaithful to me ever since we’d married seven years earlier. I was shattered. I had trusted him totally and to find out that my whole marriage had been a sham shook me to the core. I lost all faith in myself and performed terribly at work. Needless to say I left Michael, but I also decided to leave my dream job and move back to my parents’ house.
Being back in town after a decade and a half was strange, but Kerry and I managed to pick up our friendship and soon we were closer than ever. She had never married and lived with Joseph, who was now 16 and extremely handsome. I had noticed how clumsy he was around me and Kerry even teased me sometimes, saying that her teenage son had a crush on me — she never suspected I might feel the same.
One afternoon I popped over to their house unannounced to borrow a book from Kerry. She wasn’t home but Joseph let me in and made me a cup of tea. I had received my divorce papers that morning and was feeling pretty low. All of a sudden Joseph began to stare at me with a look I had never seen before. He looked exactly like his father and I was taken back to my teenage years. I felt butterflies in my stomach as Joseph leaned in to kiss me. We spent the whole afternoon together and it was passionate and magnificent. The next day I came round at the same time and we spent the afternoon together again.
But I knew I couldn’t do it again. The thought of Kerry finding out was more than I could take. Joseph had told me I was his first lover and I couldn’t have Kerry know that I had taken her son’s virginity.
I left town the next day. Joseph tried to contact me for a while but I knew it was just teenage passion and would pass. I’m back to birthday and Christmas contact only with Kerry, which is sad, but in a way I’m glad it happened. Joseph gave me back my ability to love.
Image: Getty / Picture posed by models