Waiting for the Thaw
Hi there, Jess – it’s me; it’s freezing outside! Lovely and warm in here though. Guess you’re in the best place. Quite some winter we’re having which would seem to put pay to their stupid global warming theory. Do you know, I swear you’re looking better, and look at all these cards! How many more are you going to get? I’ll read them to you later. Let’s plump up your pillow. There – that’s better.
Mark says to tell you they’re still keeping your bar-stool warm at The Feathers and your mum sends her love – says she’ll drop by tomorrow. These are from her garden; Christmas roses I think she said. I’ll put them in water later; have to ask the nurses if they’ve got an extra vase.
You’ll never believe this, Jess, but there’s a tiny fish-pond in our new garden. It was hidden behind the shed. I only discovered it today. Been so busy indoors since we moved in, hadn’t given a thought to the outside. Bet you didn’t know it was there either. I needed a breath of fresh air before I went to work, stuck in that stuffy office; stood there for ages, thinking about us; even made myself late in the end, but nobody minded. The grass was white with frost and the pond, frozen solid but under the surface I spotted two or three orange smudges. Goldfish probably, but they might be Japanese Koi; I’m certainly no authority on pond-life. I was terrified they’d suffocate, so I broke a small hole in the ice so they could breathe.
Jess – did I see your eyelid flicker a moment ago? Imagination, probably, or a moth or something, flitting around, trapped inside the lamp. Do you realise, Jess – ten weeks, five days, you’ve been cooped up here? Seems like a lifetime though...since that afternoon and I feel so guilty. They tell me guilt is normal...when things like this happen so I’m trying to put it in perspective.
You hurt me too – a lot, as a matter of fact. I assumed you’d be over the moon about the baby. We’d often talked of starting a family – when we could afford it. Then, your dad died leaving us that money and we could have our own place at last – being pregnant was the icing on the cake. I admit it was a bit of a shock, even to me, but when I bought one of those kits from Boots, there was no question.
Anyway, it was the day after we moved in I told you. Remember? We drank a toast and you seemed pleased at first. Then, you said you needed some space, some air; time to get used to the idea of being a parent. You’d bring us back a takeaway and did I fancy Indian or Chinese. I lost my temper; said neither, and you could go to hell for all I cared. And that was when you stormed out.
Three hours later, there was a ring at the bell. A policewoman said you’d had an accident...skidded on a patch of oil; that you hadn’t been wearing your crash-helmet. Expect the worse, they said...that they didn’t think you’d make it through the night. But by some miracle you did, Jess and I can’t believe it was all for nothing.
Jess, you wouldn’t recognise the house now. It’s looking great. No comparison with when you last saw it – stacked to the gills with packing cases. The neighbours are nice – eager to meet you. They’re getting impatient, but I told them … in a couple of weeks, maybe.
The box-room will make a smashing nursery and I thought I’d paint it pale green and lemon? What do you say? That way it won’t matter if it’s a boy or a girl, and your desk looks great in the spare-room. I’ve sorted out all your books – even put up a couple of shelves. A bit wonky, but you’ll do them properly…when you come home. You’d laugh if you could see them. I’d give anything to hear you laugh.
Got a real belly on me; here – feel. I’ll guide your hand. The midwife said I should start to feel it kicking soon. Such lovely hands you’ve got Jess. Funny – I’d never noticed before. And if you’re wondering where your ring is, for safe-keeping I’ve put it in our dressing-table drawer in its little box. Take it out most every day…just to look at it. ‘For better or for worse’...didn’t we promise?
I’m hurting like crazy, Jess and I’ve almost forgotten what your voice sounds like, that’s the scary part. You used to phone me at least twice a day from work and text me every hour in between... Strange, that knack I had of reading your mind. I could predict what you were about to say. It used to annoy you and how! I can’t reach you now though – wherever you are, but the doctors say to keep trying and I will.
Your Yamaha’s a write-off, in case you hadn’t guessed and don’t even think about getting another bike. They’re fine for roustabouts, but now you’re set to be a dad it’s time to take stock of your prospective responsibilities. There’s still some of your father’s money left, so we’ll buy a second-hand car. We’ll need one with the baby and all, but it’ll have to be a hatchback, what with toting push-chairs, nappies and stuff.
Here – let’s give you a hug. Got to be going soon; don’t like being out in the dark, especially with the weather as it is. You’re warm as toast. You smell nice too. Yesterday I brought your after-shave in; ‘Jazz’ – it used to be your favourite, didn’t it? The nurses must have sprayed some on for you.
This morning … when I was standing by the pond, I couldn’t help thinking, I wished to God it was that simple; merely a case of breaking the ice, but I’ll hang around and wait for the thaw, if it’s OK by you.
Incidentally, I was right about the moth; it’s just broken free, settled on your pillow. Jess – I’m sure I saw your eyelid flicker.