Palimpsest (i_palimpsest) wrote in diarybjones,
Palimpsest
i_palimpsest
diarybjones

'Oh God. You're pregnant and I forgot. You see? Horrible person. Bye'

Friday 21 October

Things are not going well. Left work early to submit Daniel's fingernail to DNA clinic (not in the best condition owing to Shazzer keeping it "safe" in the top of cigarette lighter then forgetting to remove before she lit up fag). Had to fill in form explaining how pregnant was etc, which receptionist then entered into computer, chatting to me in what seemed inappropriately cheery manner given the circumstances. Maybe she was trying to finesse - as we in television say - the awkwardness of dual paternity issue. Or maybe she was so used to the situation that it was all in a day's work, like funeral director making jolly quips about Camilla-chic whilst filling in a form asking which embalming package you wanted.

"You must be excited," she trilled. "Is this your first?"

"Certainly is!" I said with the tense faux-jollity of radio phone-in listener.

She glanced up at me as she typed, then, after a pause, as if a propos ofnothing inquired: "Did you hear about that woman in Italy who had a baby when she was 56?"

Staggered home, reeling, through darkness, lethal slippery leaves and driving rain, wishing was child bride with cosy weekend cottage in Oxfordshire where could bake apple crumble in Aga, looking even younger
in glow from inglenook fireplace. Dragged self up stairs to find boiler gone out and - with fleeting promise - answerphone flashing. Was my mother:

"Oh hello, darling. Just ringing to see what you wanted for Christmas."

Flirted briefly with calling back and asking for a bottle steriliser, but the phone rang again.

This time was Tom in San Francisco, asking if he was a horrible person. Great thing about Tom is, he knows about baby, but is so self-absorbed that it never occurs to him to bring it up until end of conversation, when he suddenly remembers and panics. Knew already, therefore, that however the "am-I-a-horrible-person?" debate resolved itself, it was bound to end with Tom remembering he'd forgotten to ask about the pregnancy and thus deciding he was horrible person anyway. Source of current neurosis was that Tom had seen Jesus at front of queue at his gym snack bar, gone to say "hi", then asked Jesus to order him a
wheatgrass smoothie (Jesus, from El Salvador, is Tom's latest nightmare ex), at which man behind Jesus said, "Excuse me, I think I was next. "

"The thing is," Tom obsessed, "the thought of jumping the queue had - I think - actually taken seed in my mind when I decided to say hello to Jesus.

So I did actually want to queue jump. I'm one of those people who coldly, cynically tries to make things better for themselves at the expense of others. Like people who deliberately avoid buying a round in the pub by going to the toilet."

"But wait," I said, happy to escape from my own fucked-up mind, if only for a moment. "The moral issue you're ignoring, Tom, is: is it actually queue-jumping if you join someone else in that queue and ask them to
get you something?"

"I think if I'd joined Jesus strictly to talk to him ..."

"Yup, yup ..."

"... and then Jesus had said, 'Do you want something?' and ..."

"Yup, yup, yup."

"Bridget," he said urgently, suddenly cutting to the chase. "Am I a horrible person?"

Lurched back on sofa, wrong-footed, thinking hard. Certainly Tom isn't non-horrible person in conventional sense of saying: "That colour looks really pretty on you," to people, or running half-marathons for Breast
Cancer. Realise I like my friends being horrible people, at least in that they enjoy talking about others behind their backs. Started to think maybe I was a horrible person too, for not reminding Tom I was pregnant . But
then if I reminded him, would I be like the man in the queue who could easily have left him in an innocent state of ...

"OK, Bridget, you've said enough."

"But I didn't ..."

"No. It's fine. Really. That's all I wanted to know."

"No wait. I'm just feeling a bit ..." "You're pregnant and I forgot. You see? Horrible person. Bye."

Oh God. Should go to gym like Tom. Wish pregnancy was still like in Princess Diana's day when you simply hid under Mothercare smock for nine months. Now is insane pressure to appear in full evening dress with highly toned arms.Fuck it. Is too rainy. Will go tomorrow.

Sunday 23 October
Finally got to gym to find naked pregnant girl in there, smugly humming Bach cantata . Hate people who hum classical music. Is sort of thing Freddo at work does: as if saying, "God's in his heaven, and I got a first in PPE at Cambridge."

Cantata-girl's stomach was enormous protruding thing with inside-out navel, but rest of her - arms, legs, bum etc - were really thin: in sharp contrast to own body which seems to have got sort of wide, like Ann Widdecombe: as if a particularly strong gust of wind might carry me quite away.

Felt totally convinced that no one could actually tell I was pregnant, but suddenly, when naked, found naked Cantata-girl staring with head-on-side, knowing smile.

"Five months?" she said.

Tried to absorb new horror: recent, growing conviction that have put on more weight than am supposed to at this point now confirmed. Nodded mutely, then rushed to mirror, hysterically, grabbing a hairdryer and starting to blow madly at totally dry hair.

"Oh! Excuse me!" Turned to see a woman banging down hairbrush and flouncing off. Had inadvertently nicked her hairdryer when she was mid-toilette. Like Tom, am horrible person as well as looking 56 years old and five months pregnant.

"It's Bridget, isn't it?" Was Cantata-girl again: "Amy Benwick - Daddy works with Mark. We had you over for dinner once."

Blanched, trying to remember which nightmare scary-lawyer occasion that was.

"I didn't know you and Mark were having a baby. Congratulations!"

Oh great. Now she'll tell "Daddy", and he'll tell Mark, and then what am I supposed to do?

Published: 27 October 2005
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