Revealed of course, slowly. With dignity. And at the appropriate moment…
Impatience increasing? Agitation with my inability to simply cut to the chase growing?
Ahhh, console yourself dear reader, for gratification delayed is also (according to that oracle – my Mother) Good for the Soul…and I promise to get there…eventually.
On hearing he was to be a father yet again, R adopted the time-honoured method of dealing with a reality you do not want to hear and which flies contrary to all those vehement protestations you have made i.e. that four children was quite enough for him – there would not be another baby in his house – he would be getting a vasectomy as soon as possible and she (for he meant me, dear reader) would have to find another man if she wanted another baby.
Yes, that’s right, my increasingly irritated and impatient page 3 seeking reader. He decided to ignore it.
Fully aware that he was ignoring it I flaunted the consequences of my fecundity at every opportunity. Ohhhh the heartburn. The prodded awake requests for gaviscon at 3am. The muscle aches that required massage. For long, long periods of time. The inability to carry large bags of shopping (some men really are saps for this pregnancy and female weakness lark…). The mood swings… The haemorrhoids…
Time passed. Christmas came and went. 2003 dawned without personal enjoyment of the Hogmanay beer-goggles. Until, reaching the 7th month of gestation and a day off work, and with narry a baby product purchased, I deduced that R appeared to have omitted to inform his work colleagues of his impending fatherhood such was the extent of his denial.
Puzzled. In fact thoroughly irritated by his ability to ignore impending birth, I did what any good woman will do. I decided to out him and thus offered to pick him up from work.
He insisted that I not put myself out. I insisted that it would be a pleasure to save him the unpleasant train journey. He said he would need to work a little later. I said I would spend a pleasant hour or so with those colleagues of his that I knew and loved. He said there was a terrible stomach bug doing the rounds.
Ah reader. I did it. I went early to the school. I waddled to the reception, brandishing my belly in the blackest, snuggest, lycra form-fitting dress in my wardrobe. I smiled a wide hello at the office staff with whom I had had at least telephone contact with over the past 11 years.
What followed was my own peculiar lesson in cognitive dissonance. Until then a phrase I understood in terms only of my non-pregnant cigarette habit and an ability to banish tobacco-induced cancer from my own personal health neuroses.
Yes, I anticipated a little surprise. Perhaps minor confusion of the type – is she just carrying a lot of fat in an unfortunate place or is she pregnant? Minor and only momentary of course.
I waddled into the office. I was greeted by silence. One mouth sagged open. The oldest hand emerged to stutter Oh Yvonne… and then sputtered into silence again. Then stammered a bit. How did…? when did…? how did…? how…?… are you…?…
A young face, an office newbie smiled, oblivious, when’re yi due?
Someone recovered manners and I was given a seat. Someone said they’d tell R I was there.
And so passed 20 minutes whilst I waited for R to deliver me, cursing the day I decided to out him. I gabbled a bit. Laughed too loud.
And discovered that there is a brain freeze which accompanies expectation being met in such an expectation-defying manner…
As I explicitly patted my big tum they tacitly fixed their gaze on my face. As I groaned about my sore back they decided to get on with their work.
One woman – the oldest secretarial hand – tutted. It was a tut. A real obvious big TUT.
And then the sound of laughter. Of someone fit to piss themselves. Of my husband slapping doors and walls choking fit to expire. Of him opening his mouth to speak and nothing but his snorted saliva spraying my face. He was apoplectic. He was convulsed. They thought…. Hhhahahahahaaaa…. hahahahahahhahahaha….SHE thought (he was pointing at the woman who’d gone to fetch him)…..hahahahahhhahahahaaahahahah….THEY thought…..
I am not an ungenerous woman my reader. The carrot has always had more appeal to me than the stick… Ahhh, you deserve some explanation. Some light to be shed.
Picture the scene then. R in his office. The secretary approaches. Awkwardly. Apologetically. As though embarrassed.
What’s up Liz? says R. Is something wrong?
Ah. Mr S… says she… It’s your wife. She’s here. In the school. In the office.
Tell her I’ll be right there…says he…
Tell her I’m just finishing this last paper.
Silence. A stare.
Is there something else Liz?
A cough. An audible gulp.
Oh Mr S. Are you alright? We didnae know. Are you alright wi…dramatic pause… that?
Alright? With what? says R. Increasingly bemused.
Well, the new ... audible swallow… the new… pause… the new… baby.
Eh? says the slow-witted R. Eh?
Aye. Says she. Whit wi you havin a vasectomy and aw that….
May this be a lesson to you all. When issuing vehement denials and statements of intent – beware. For some people may take you at your word. May even believe that you are capable of following through on stated intention…
Ahhh, yessss… Page 3? I hear you ask.