In “Debbie and Julie” by Doris Lessing, Julie enters labour pains in Debbie’s flat. She packs her things and prepares to leave to give birth, feeling sorry that Debbie is not there. The woman was supposed to be going to Paris for a week with a man but later called Julie to tell her she was in New York. Julie leaves the flat where a few other people, girls and men, reside.

Julie thinks about how she met Debbie on the railway platform and how the woman took her in and took care of her. Debbie had numerous partners, and all kinds of dubious people passed through her flat, but she always looked after Julie.

Julie goes to an abandoned shed and finds a dog there. She gives birth all alone. She wraps the baby girl and goes to a telephone box and leaves the child th...

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