Friday 21st May 2010
Gestation: 34 weeks
One year ago.
“Kirsty and Nathan have just gone over to China. Did you know that?” I look up from my steak sandwich, across the table, and the beer. It’s a Friday afternoon.
“To pick up Alfie. From China.” I do that thing where I frown, hoping that it might help me to understand a little better. It doesn’t. “They’re adopting.”
A flash goes through my head of all the times I’ve seen Kirsty in the last three years. Which is not often – they are not close friends – but often enough to have left a lasting memory. In all the times I’ve seen them, I’ve never seen Kirsty with a full head of hair. She’s either had thin, sparsely growing hair, or being wearing a bandana. And each time, every single time, she has been smiling. At weddings. At barbeques. Wherever.
Despite her obvious lethargy, and pain on movement, she has always been smiling. And so has Nathan.
“So they couldn’t have kids? After chemo?”
“I don’t know the whole story, mate, but I think it’s a fair assumption.” I chew on a chip. “They got on a plane on Monday, to head over there. To meet their new kid.”
I sit and digest.
“Fuck, that’s brave,” I say eventually, sighing. “So brave.”
“I know. I don’t even know how you’d contemplate it.”
I sit some more. “I guess you contemplate it when you have no other choice. And then you choose to adopt a child, and you choose to love him like he’s your own.”
“Yeah, sure. But can you imagine getting off a plane to go and meet your own child?”
“No, I can’t,” I say, a little too easily.
I return to my chips.
* * * * *
That’s what I say. But in my head, it goes more like this:
“Yeah, sure. But can you imagine getting off a plane to go and meet your kid?”
“No, I’d prefer not to. I’m not at that stage yet. We’re not at that stage yet.
“But yes, I can imagine getting of a plane to meet my new kid. From another mother. From another country. I haven’t before now, but I can.”
All too easily.
And it scares the shit out of me.
* * * * *