The Thin Pink Line
With my period a day overdue,
I plunged the magic wand into a jar of urine
and held my breath. Two pink lines grew on the
blotting paper. I was pregnant.
I didn't think about miscarriage
or other mishaps. Such things happened to others,
not good Irish Catholic breeding stock like
me. I was pregnant, ergo I was having a baby.
The relief was proportionate
to the despair that existed before I feel pregnant.
Every cell of my body seemed to let go a collective
sigh of relief. The long slow panic that had
risen over years suddenly disappeared clear
off my radar. And into the vacuum rose a mad,
only thing that was scary about being pregnant
was telling Michael. He was still overseas so
I had a few weeks to prepare for the moment.
When it came, we were lying in bed the morning
after he had returned, talking vaguely about
life as I distractedly tried to recall my neatly
rehearsed phrases. But there was, I realised,
no easy way to break the news.
'Um, I have something to
tell you and I'm not sure how you'll feel about
it. Umm...I'm pregnant.'
There are hundreds of these
scenes in cheesy black-and-white movies.
Scenes where our heroine,
Doris Day or Elizabeth Taylor, tells her beloved
they are expecting a baby. She has set a beautiful
table and is immaculately groomed in her tight-waisted
frock. She coyly lets him know there will soon
be three in the family, and Jimmy Stewart or
Cary Grant rises from the table in surprised
joy, comically upending something as he rushes
to her side and says, 'Are you sure?' And she
says, 'Yes ', and he says, 'Well,this is wonderful
news.' And they laugh and he immediately begins
to fuss over her,wanting her to sit down and
put her feet up or stop carrying
that platter, and it 's all an hilarious pantomime
of elation. I had always longed for such a moment
in my cheesy old soul.
Instead, Michael lay his
head back on the pillow and grasped his hair,
pulling it like he was scalping himself.
my God! Oh my God! Oh my God!' was all he could
say for a full five minutes. It was not joy.
It was not Jimmy Stewart or Cary Grant.
For Michael, it was more
a schlock horror movie.
'Oh my God! Oh my God!
Are you sure? Oh my God,Vanessa!'
I had dropped the bomb
- October 2000