C had to go to Canberra this morning.
Canberra is a strange cold wet fish of a city where trees grow in strict formation and politicians come out to play. There are certain laws binding the rest of our sweet nation and ensuring our moral and physical safety that need not apply in this city - it’s that special and magical.
I am insanely jealous of course, not because of the Canberra thing but because C is there for two days and thus guaranteed at least one night of uninterrupted sleep. That is, unless he succumbs to Canberra’s unique charms and spends the wee hours trawling the streets for Xrated porn and firecrackers.
Something I read, or maybe someone told me, or possibly an angel visited me in a dream and proclaimed it so, was that having a baby often makes bad relationships worse and good relationships pretty much stay the same.
C and I are best mates and have been together for many years, laughing at each others crap jokes and taking it in turns to make the porridge (except when C discovered a new and vastly superior porridge making method and then do you think I was allowed to go within two metres of a rolled oat?).
And certainly when I had to do that Will I Kill My Baby? Test they make you do after 6 weeks or so, I ticked all the right boxes (although I paused over the Are You Ever Afraid Of Your Partner box when I recalled his frightening obsession with the porridge).
But still, the truth is things have been getting a wee bit snappy around here of late.
We’re both tired and there have been more terse words and less cuddles than say 8 weeks ago. And there’s been little or no Special GrownUp Naked Time, not for want of trying. It is oddly difficult to get down and dirty when the other hand is occupied with rocking a cradle. A slight soiling is all we’ve really managed.
The other day we decided to go out for lunch with the baby.
Naturally in the car there were tears and the screaming tomato face but this time it wasn’t Tricky. We tried to talk in an adult fashion about the snappiness and the grumpiness and the Too Busy for Special GrownUp Naked Time.
I miss you, I cried.
I miss you too said C. It’s like we’ve both fallen in love with someone else.
Someone tiny, brown and incontinent.
When we got out of the car we stood in the street and kissed.
And said how much we loved each other.
And how sexy we were, even with spew on our clothes and poochy tummies.
And then, in lieu of Special GrownUp Naked Time we decided to eat cakes even though we knew it was bad and would add to general poochiness.
We wanted to go to our favourite bakery and eat their cakes but several thousand Sydneysiders had decided to do exactly the same thing and it was packed. This saddened us. But across the street was another café, a café that had been the height of grooviness and brimming with popularity until the coming of the bakery. Now it was nearly empty and looked lonely and sullen.
I felt a stab of sympathy. This café knew only too well the bitter taste of rejection.
Let’s go there, I said. At least they’ll be happy to see us.
I waited outside the ex-groovy café, rocking the pram as I watched the bakery queue across the road go round the corner and down the street. After a moment C came out with a face like a slapped arse.
They said no, he told me.
No? I repeated, confused.
No, he said more loudly, they said we couldn’t bring the pram inside and I’M NEVER COMING BACK TO THIS SHIT HOLE AGAIN.
I looked at C’s outraged face and in at the once groovy near empty café that wasn’t into prams and I started to laugh. Then we crossed back over the road and found a couple of orange milkcrates outside the bakery. I sat on my crate on the footpath while C joined the queue. When an old woman, passing by exclaimed that Tricky was like a beautiful apricot I smiled and agreed.
A few minutes later I held a Styrofoam cup of Belgian hot chocolate in one hand and a strawberry and chocolate tart in the other. My beautiful apricot baby lay in the pram to my right and my sexy funny porridge-fascist husband sat on an orange milk crate to my left.
And the traffic zoomed by, and the sun shone, and satisfied customers walked past with fragrant loaves wrapped in brown paper under their arms…
And life was good.
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