Thursday, January 26, 2006


Ah, London. Getting off the plane filled me with exhilaration. I was here. I had done it, and I had arrived with the love of my life for whom I’d endured so much. I hadn’t a second glance at my belly the entire journey, but it was small yet. The smiles and nods would come later. But there I was in Heathrow airport ready to start the next chapter in my life, preferably one that was relatively emotional pain free.

After the relative shock Steve encountered after greeting his mother in her smoking-related stroke induced bedridden state, we settled into life in one of the world’s queen cities, spending days exploring the West End, wandering through gallery and museum, taking pictures of each other in front of Big Ben, the London Eye, Buckingham Palace. I was constantly amused at Steve’s reluctance to accost fellow tourists into taking a shot of us together, but I vowed to learn PhotoShop so that I could meld our solo pics together. We had Marks and Spencer sandwiches and fresh squeezed orange juice on benches in Hyde Park, Green Park, or whatever park we were near at lunchtime.

It was idyllic. I finally had Steve to myself and no longer had to worry that there would come a knock at a door accompanied by any number of unpleasantries. We were together.

Weeks went by. Steve had to make two trips back to the States and despite everything I spent our separation in tears biting my fingernails for fear that he would not return. But he did. Christmas came. New Years passed. And we found ourselves in 2006, the birth of our baby looming ever so near. After much going back and forth, we had finally decided on a couple of names, one for each sex, for we weren’t to find out the baby’s sex. If we’d wanted to, we could have had a private scan somewhere, but we weren’t concerned about it, though the fact behind the reasons they decline to tell parents-in-waiting the baby’s gender being that sadly certain ethnic groups give preference to one over the other thus putting the one at greater risk for abortions was entirely thought provoking. So we had our two names ready, all that was needed was the baby and one other much anticipated piece to complete our puzzleand we would reach life's perfection.

And two weeks into the New Year, Steve and I had a perfectly lovely weekend. Friday the 13th was not a day of bad luck but one of good fortune for both of us. Saturday we spent with his Australian half-brother who was working in Belfast and had booked a flight to London as soon as he learned his brother’s new location. Sunday we fantasized about a trip to Australia this summer to show off the baby to his father and other half siblings before heading to Camden Market and Notting Hill then Chelsea where I saw and, I admit with some embarrassment, followed for a couple of blocks Jude Law, but it was for my mother’s sake. She is absolutely in love with him and watched Cold Mountain perhaps 20 times before surrendering the disc back to Netflix so she could change it in for every other film he appeared in. That night I called Audrey, excited as usual to hear her voice. We counted down the days again until her arrival, and I got on the phone with her dad.

“So you are still fine with buying her ticket, right?” I asked Sam.

“Right.” He replied in his usual monosyllabic monotonic manner.

“Lovely. I just can’t wait to see her. I’ve missed her so much. She is just going to love it here.” I gushed in a way I usually didn’t when on the phone with him. And then I decided to ask about his girlfriend and his family, which I also usually didn’t do. Again with the monotone as he answered “fine” to each question. “Is everything okay?” I asked finally.


We said our goodbyes, and I went to bed. The next morning Steve and I had slept late then lay in bed languishing in the feeling of each other’s skin. Steve caressed my belly, and we marveled as we watched one of Bubble’s limbs pushed out from the uniform round smoothness of my bump and travel across the crest.

“Alien,” Steve whispered creepily. We both laughed then breathed simultaneous sighs of contentment. Life was good.

Perhaps that’s how I should have known that everything was about to come crashing down around me. Things were just too good. My life was going too well. I should have known that I am wrong to trust anyone. I should have known that my belief that people are inherently good is false. I should have been watching my back before it was stabbed this cruelly and from such an unexpected source.