My step-mother had been married to my father for six years at the time that she made this pronouncement so she’d obviously had time to refine her opinion of her step-daughter. This was her reaction to news of my pregnancy.
To have a mother who considers you loathsome might be unfortunate; to have a step-mother who feels the same way while not carelessness, since I had chosen neither, certainly does nothing to bolster a positive self-image.
The fact that both I and my half-caste bastard together with the second, slightly more acceptably parented, bastard are currently across her threshold and under her roof indicates that her initial position has modified somewhat over the intervening decade or so. Children, after all, come into the world innocent and not at their own behest. However her underlying opinion of their mother has changed very little.
Another familiar part of this territory – the aversion to physical contact, the overt hostility and snide remarks – is the concomitant delight in the company of the male. The now live-in-ex has always been drawn across the threshold with effusive delight and demonstrations of affection. It is hardly surprising then that in the current situation I, the wicked, heartless and irrational woman, have injured the long-suffering and saintly man whilst also ruining the lives of my children.
Thus it was that as midnight ticked into Christmas morning I was upstairs wrapping presents for the children serenaded by the gales of laughter and sounds of carousing and merriment from below as my father, step-mother and ex drank life, or at least the port, to the lees.