Change of Perspective
"You ready?" Dad asked.
"Er yeah, I guess."
"Well shake a leg then."
My conversation with Gran has certainly had me thinking, what does my future hold? I thought I knew, a dazzling career racing bikes then marriage, kids, yeah I'd be famous but otherwise unextraordinary. And now, now that's all turned on its head.
"Dreamy knickers, are you coming or what?" Dad prompted.
"Just getting my bag."
Not exactly a glowing indictment of my maleness.
We drove down to Remagen, the supermarket there is the biggest locally, I got to push the trolley, a childhood treat. Sainsbury's it's not but you can get most stuff here. I trundled along the aisles lost in thought, well not so much lost but rather letting my thoughts drift.
I idly watched a woman herding her brood of pre-schoolers along ahead of us, she looked tired and harassed. Is that what awaits me in the future, or would I be like the middle-aged woman on the deli counter who I caught wistfully watching the same family?
"Plain or chocolate?" Dad asked waving some biscuits at me.
"Eh? Oh plain."
I used my reflection in the back of a cabinet to check my hair, geez am I already that much of a girl?
“Drew, Drew!” Dad called from further up the aisle.
“I'm coming already.”
With a heave I got the trolley in motion, how do the wheels end up facing the wrong way every time you stop? Of course then the damned thing ended up with that much momentum I struggled to control it and only just avoided ramming the young mother's equally laden contrivance.
“No damage, eh ? ”
One of the toddlers, rampant on the floor decided to grab my leg at this point.
“Gott, she's always doing this, sorry.”
“It's okay, ” I leant down to toddler height, “and what's your name?”
“Neek, yellow!” she grabbed a handful of my hair.
“Aneka, let go of the lady's hair!”
I was pinned down by the little dear now, nothing for it; I grabbed the child and lifted her up.
“Go to mummy, Aneka.” I encouraged.
“Lady yellow hair.”
“I'm really sorry, she's fascinated by blonde hair for some reason; Aneka, let go!”
Between us we managed to pry the little monster free of my locks and I moved out of range of the grappling puddies.
She looked at me slightly askance, “ Have we met before, your face looks familiar?”
“I don't think so.”
“Something on the telly then, nah must be a coincidence.”
“Yeah.” I agreed.
“Josef!” she screeched, “sorry Gaby, have to rescue the Gummi Bears again!”
And she was away to track down another of her brood.
“You want strawberry or raspberry jam?”
“You want ice cream?”
“Er sure, Dad?”
“You know when you were my age?”
“Yeah?” he allowed with a frown.
“Did you like think about having kids and stuff?”
“Hell no! Rugby and a snog behind the bike sheds were my obsessions back then. What's brought this on?”
“I was just wondering.”
“ Well at your age you should be thinking about school, a career maybe not when you are going to have sprogs – oh bugger, I've put my clog into it haven't I.”
“No Dad, it was my fault it was a silly question.”
“No it wasn't, come on let's finish up here and go get that lunch, we can talk better then.”
We trundled around the rest of the store, I did remember to get a pack of tights for school, then joined the inevitable queue to pay behind, as it happens, Jackie and her munchkins.
“Oh hi again.”
I kept my distance from Aneka!
“You've had me thinking all the way round.” Jackie admitted.
“Where I knew you from.”
“You were on the telly, some fancy hoity toity wedding, it was you, wasn't it?”
“If Your Grace would be so kind…” Dad suggested.
“I knew it! Never forget a face; you looked a lot taller on the telly.”
“I erm was wearing heels.” I offered glancing down at my ballet pumps.
“That'd be it.” Jackie enthused.
“Ninety three fifty lady.” The cashier prompted my new found fan.
“Oh sure, right.”
From mother to gibbering wreck in ten minutes, what is it with people?
Jackie paid for her groceries and collected Josef and his sister from the cashiers counter.
“Nice to meet you your ladyship.” She even sort of did a bit of a curtsey!
“And you too, bye.”
“So what was that about?”
“Well the poor girl was obviously star struck; I only sort of suggested a title.”
We transferred the contents of the trolley into the car and readied ourselves to depart.
“Where to your ladyship?”
“Sounds good to me.” Dad agreed.
It was only a five minute drive, onto the bypass, round the town then drop down to the river front. We found a spot to park not too far from the Anker, a once grand hotel / restaurant but like so much else in town, now a shadow of its former splendour – the food's okay though!
“We having dinner later?”
“Nothing special.” Dad replied.
“In that case I'll have the liver.”
“Will you indeed.”
I fluttered my eyelashes at him, “ Pretty please.”
That just got a roll of the eyes, when the waitress finally came over; he ordered the liver for both of us and a round of soft drinks.
“So kiddo, you still want to talk?”
“It's a bit hypothetical really.”
“But important nonetheless.”
“Well it's just that I hadn't thought about it at all, having kids that is, until yesterday. I mean, I know the mechanics side of things yeah but I'd never really considered even if I wanted a family at some point, it was like all in the future.”
“I hope it still is.” Dad noted.
“And now it's sort of an immediate thing. If I want kids in my future, my own that is I really only have one option don't I?”
“From what the doctor said in Hamburg this whole thing means you have one more option than you had, or at least we thought you had before.”
“I was never gonna be a real Dad was I?”
“No, kiddo.” Dad agreed, a tear forming in his eye.
“Two liver?” we were interrupted by our servitor.
“So, everything okay, more drinks?”
“We're fine thanks.”
“Enjoy your meal.”
The food looked good, smelled good and tasted good – we've eaten here before so I kind of knew what to expect. We ate in silence for a while before Dad reopened the conversation.
“So what are you thinking?”
“I dunno, to be honest the whole idea of being the mother is scary, I sort of understand what Bern's been going through a bit. I mean when it's someone else going through it it's all a bit remote. No that's not the word, erm…”
I munched some more of my lunch, “ Yup.”
“Now it could be me, if I want. Which is like really odd because proper women don't really get the choice like that.”
“You might be coming by a strange route kiddo, but you are a proper woman; as proper as your mother and sister.”
“That's just it, Dad, I don't know whether I want to be, I was quite happy being a boy.”
“You really need to talk to your mother about this; I'm hardly the expert on motherhood.”
“ That's just it Dad, Mum'll be like Gran was, all ‘ it's what we do, the miracle of birth, la di da – they're like super biased, with you, well I think you kind of get my side of things better.”
Dave looked at his soon to be daughter – was that really the only option?
to be continued....
© Maddy Bell 26.10.2011