Meredith Russo Reads an Extract from If I Was Your Girl Transcript
Hi! I’m Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl, which you probably already knew. I’ve got a cat in my lap for moral support, and I thought it might be fun to read you one of the flashback scenes that’s peppered throughout the book. Probably best to read one of those because spoilers aren’t an issue with them. Do you want to give you a trigger warning? This passage does discuss suicide so if that’s something that’s really heavy for you, you might want to skip it.
November, Three Years Ago
The hospital bed creaked as Mom sat and rubbed my leg through the thin blanket. A forced smile tightened her apple cheeks but failed to reach her eyes. Her clothes looked baggy; she must not have eaten since I was admitted, to have lost so much weight.
“I talked with the counsellor,” she said. Her accent was so different from mine, light and musical.
I said, “What about?” My voice sounded like nothing – flat, toneless, with the faintest deepening that made me never want to speak again. My stomach cramped and twisted.
“When it’s safe for you to come home. I told ‘em I was worried ‘bout what you might do when you’re alone, since I can’t take any more time off work. I couldn’t survive it if I came home and found you…” She trailed off, staring at the light-yellow wall.
“What did the counsellor say?” I had met with him a few days before. When he asked me what was wrong with me, I wrote six words on a notepad, my throat still too sore from the stomach pump to speak.
“He said there’s ways to treat what’s wrong with you,” Mom said. “But he wouldn’t say what it is.” She peered at me.
“You won’t want me to come home if I tell you what’s wrong,” I said, shifting my eyes down. “You won’t ever want to see me again.” This was the most I’d said at once in weeks. My throat ached from the effort.
“That ain’t possible,” she said. “There ain’t a thing in God’s creation that could undo the love I have for my son.”
I brought my wrist up to my chest and looked down. The identification bracelet said my name was Andrew Hardy. If I died, I realised, Andrew was the name they would put on my tombstone.
“What if your son told you he was your daughter?”
My mother was quiet for a moment. I thought of the words I wrote down for the counsellor: I should have been a girl.
Finally, she brought her eyes to meet mine. Her expression was fierce, despite her round, red cheeks.
“Listen to me.” Her hand squeezed my leg hard enough that the pain broke through the fog of my meds. When she spoke next, I listened. “Anything, anyone is better than a dead son.”
And that’s it! Thank you for watching.