11.30pm. Cannot sleep. Looping thoughts are going
round and round, loopily. Keep thinking all alcohol
have drunk over the years will stay in body and give
baby Foetal Alcohol Syndrome and baby will emerge with
monstrous defects because have been so selfish as to
be older mother - like older mother Una Alconbury goes
on about whose baby was born with three legs and no
jaw and had to be adopted by co-habiting nun and
11.35pm. Still no nearer to getting DNA samples from
Mark and Daniel. What If I get post-natal depression
and drive the car off a cliff? There'll be no father
to look after baby and Jude and Shaz will leave her
outside the Electric while they get drunk and
Portobello Rd will be full of dishevelled Oriental
birds roosting like in Hitchcock's The Birds and
they'll swoop and give baby Avian Flu by pecking at
her eyes. Nooooooo! Am going to turn light on, be
sensible, and stop worrying.
11.37pm. What if I put the baby in the washing machine
like that woman in the paper with her cat?
11.40pm. Why are we terrified of Bird Flu? Think it is
something about mutation: maybe humans into birds?
Maybe will give birth to dishevelled bird's head on
baby's body. Ugh, ugh. Am going to read "Desiderata".
"Go quietly amidst the noise and haste and remember
what peace there may be in silence."
Pah. Is no peace in silence: is lonely and terrifying.
Is this how life will be when baby comes? Even if Mark
or Daniel does want to be proper father, it will be
like with girl at school called Harmony Middlebrook
whose parents called her "Harmony" because they
thought having her would repair their relationship and
it was a total disaster. Also there are too many
stairs to my flat. What if a parcel comes and I have
to go down and leave baby on table and she just rolls
off? Also am so old will end up bringing baby up in
retirement community and worst of it is, you're not
supposed to worry when you're pregnant because baby
will come out worried. Oh God. Really feel like having
a drink and a cigarette. What if suddenly lose control
and glug entire bottle of wine out of pure habit and
11.50pm. Am horrible spoilt person worrying about
stupid things in midst of Pakistan earthquake
disaster. Also am bad person because for so many years
had one huge worry that I would never have a baby that
you couldn't say "Oh it doesn't matter" about because
it did. I mean, it was a tragedy of Shakespearean
proportions. Always thought: "If I do have a baby then
I will never worry about trivial matters again." And
now look at me.
Reminds me of before I was pregnant when there was
Worry Vortex in my brain and thoughts would just go
round and round on a certain subject and if one worry
subject disappeared then another would plop into its
place and go round and round the same vortex even if
it was completely meaningless, like which trousers to
put into dry cleaners.
Gaaaah! Maybe am not pregnant any more. Have lost that
glowing peaceful feeling (though Shaz said glowing
feeling was mere product of not being hung-over for
first time in 17 years) Maybe baby has died. Had
better do pregnancy test quickly.
11.55pm. Hurrah! Am still pregnant! Gaaah! Telephone.
Was Jude, talking in a strange voice.
"I hort yur gegging DNA off Daniel."
"Why are you talking in that funny voice?"
"He's here. Daniel's in the Electric." There was the
sound of a struggle. "Fucking bastard!" It was Sharon
now. "I'm going to fucking kill him. You'd better get
your arse down here."
Was completely dumbfounded. "What are you talking
about?" I hissed. "Why aren't you in bed? It's the
middle of the night."
"Bridget. It's Saturday night. It's not even midnight.
Just because you're pregnant there's no need to go
Whole idea of going out seemed monstrous and
unnatural. But I really needed to get Daniel's DNA,
and anything was better than tossing and turning,
imagining deformed flu birds' heads on babies' bodies
in retirement community washing machines. Twitching
and muttering I managed to get dressed, find my
handbag and stagger down to a curry-scented minicab
which immediately set off at a rattling belt in the
general direction of North Yorkshire.
Eventually reined in minicab and redirected it towards
Electric. Could not believe the crush of people and
shouting inside. Everyone seemed completely mad: an
impression I get increasingly when out these days but
Shaz says is because have no previous adult memory of
being sober after 8pm.
Caught sight of Jude, Shaz and Daniel at a table near
the bar, but smell of booze and cigarettes made me
have to rush to loos and puke. When I returned,
Sharon, dressed in transparent blouse, was leaning
over Daniel coquettishly, holding his hand, saying:
"Come on now, darling ... close your eyes."
Daniel looked up, nervously, caught sight of me and
yelled: "Christ Alive! Jones! Jesus! What's happened
to your tits? They're fucking enormous."
"I said shut 'em," snarled Shazzer, at which Daniel,
clearly terrified, screwed up his eyes.
"OK," said Shazzer, turning Daniel's palm upwards as
Jude slipped her a pair of nail scissors. "This is a
secret test I learned from my psychic to find out
whether you're going to live a long happy life, or die
horribly and soon. Hold still."
Shazzer ran the blade lightly across Daniel's wrist.
Then, quick as a flash, took his index finger, clipped
his fingernail, and handed it to Jude.
"Bloody hell," said Daniel. "That hurt."
"Oh diddums, did it?" said Shaz, lunging at him again
with her fist, at which a tiny pinprick of blood
appeared on his palm, just as Jude dived in with a
cotton wool ball and swabbed it.
"Thanks!" said Shazzer, "We'll let you have the
results in a couple of days."
Published: 20 October 2005