Monday, January 23, 2012

Please be Gentle

So, dear reader, below is my very first attempt at a short story, titled "Perfectly Plain"*pat on the back* and I have decided to let you read it*GASP*. I am very nervous*heart rate increases*, sharing fiction is a lot harder than sharing my opinion. Perhaps because there is a lot more thought put into character and story...anyway, enjoy!*sharp breath in*.....

Perfectly Plain

With her head down the toilet again that morning, Georgia came to the realisation that, yes, she probably should tell someone. But tell someone what? Everything had happened so fast. This was merely not in the plan. Every aspect of her life was planned and detailed; job, position, Friday drinks, outfits and holidays, Christmases. How could something so huge, sneak up on her! So who to call first? Well, she thought, Andrew would be the obvious one. But she would have to time it to be between meetings, and the call would have to be before he ran out for corporate football at lunch. No. Too hard. Maybe Lisa? She too would be at her desk, but only pretending to be busy. Lisa would take the call, but what would she say? No, this is something that had to be face to face.

 Cue head in toilet again! Seriously! Enough already!

Perfectly plain. This was the best way to describe Georgia. Perfect in perception that is; tall, brunette, slim. Intelligent, but not invested.  Things happened for her too easily. For example, she had recently been promoted after only two months and was the youngest of the account managers. People were impressed, always. Yet she had always managed to do things only half way, half way had always seemed to get her ahead. Perfectly plain and acceptably half arsed was where she had placed herself, and this is where she would stay, until Andrew produced the shimmering 2 carats that was expected. IF he did. People never saw this calculating in her though. Behind that perfectly plain facade, was a measured, not malicious, brain. Every action was deliberate – Georgia knew how to play people. This talent for influencing people had been cunningly learned from a young age.
And now, she was placed in a situation so foreign to her. Foreign was not the baby part, but the not planned part. This was not meant to be part of her life for a long time.  

Skip forward in time: "Things are progressing nicely." Her doctor assures her. The baby grows. Her boobs grow. The illness stops. Tiredness remains. Dying for a glass of Sav Blanc. The realisation has sunk in.
            The questions had begun: Every movement. Every nudge, turn, hiccup, and bump. When will I meet you? How will I meet you? Will you be blonde? Placid? Will you know me? Look into my eyes and love me? Will I love you? Georgia thought all of these things as she lay in her bubble filled bath. Water barely covering the burgeoning belly that now encased her little bundle.  This was the only way to relax this far along. Her mind would race from the moment she woke to the time she fell asleep, and then the dreams! They couldn’t be normal! “Surely everyone thinks like this?” “It’s just the hormones” were the helpful comments her distant partner offered. Georgia wasn’t so sure. She decided to voice them again. “Andrew. I am scared.”
“What about Hon. Why? You will be fine. If it gets too hard, we can have the drugs and we’ll be fine.”  
“No. Not about the labour. That’ll be fine. Being a mum.  A parent. What if “it”.....”
He cut her off, “Don’t call him it! Say The Baby.”
“....The Baby .... What if The Baby and I don’t bond? What if I can’t feed? What if I can’t settle it...” and again, he cuts her off,
 “DAMN IT GEORGIA!!! THE BABY! THE BABY! THE BABY! If you started saying The Baby, you might start to bond with it. Shit! See now you made me do it! YOU WILL BE FINE! How many times do I have to re-assure you! The baby will be fine! We will be fine! You are not the first woman to ever have a baby!” He’d had enough. Again with the fears! When would this end? Surely being scared about the labour should be her main concern?
“Fuck Andrew! I know! I know all this. But this is the first baby I have had, I hope to god it’s the first baby you have had and the first baby WE have had TOGETHER! So please, try to understand me! Try to understand that I need you to pander to my worries and concerns and not throw them away! I am worried. I am concerned and I have fears. Accept that!”  And again it turns into an argument. Carrying on daily, keeping the worry in her head was easier than having to explain her concerns over and over. Maybe she was finding things to worry about. Could she be so lucky? To have what other women had? Of course not. She had never done anything worthy, why now would she be lucky enough to bore a child who looked up to her and loved her for just being a great mum? Would she be a great mum? So many questions. So much self doubt from a very self-assured woman.

                But this story is not about the pregnancy, who Georgia told or the arguments. In fact, it’s not even a story. There is no beginning, middle and end. Only a beginning. This tale is about a life that truly began once this baby arrived. 

                Charlotte Grace was born under perfectly plain (should I really be saying that) circumstances at 8:21am on a Tuesday. She was (is still) beautiful. Baby grey eyes, small wrinkly fingers and turned in feet - roughly the dimensions of a size 12 chook.  And there she lay, bundled, sleeping, oblivious to the “Ooohs” and “Aaahs” surrounding her that day and still oblivious at this moment.  This life that had just begun changed the life of her mother. 

                We aren’t talking “junkie mum turned doting parent” or “teen mum turned role model” and not even “woman who now has a purpose”. As Charlotte (never Charlie) was born there was the usual tears and overwhelming love. Georgia and Andrew were in a daze of happy hormones, followed by day three baby blues. Then came the anxiety of having to bring home and care for this bundle without the midwives or doctors. There were visitors, the feeding and the nappies. “Day One” started one evening, perhaps ten days in, sometime during the 3am feed (time wasn’t measured by two hands on a clock anymore.) Georgia was sitting in her feeding chair, Charlotte sucking away. She looked down at Charlotte and breathed out for the first time in 10 days. Trying to stay awake, Georgia looked across at a copy of “The Complete Tales of Beatrix Potter” – a present from one of the many well-wishers. Awkwardly, she reached for it, opened it and began to read Charlotte the story of Peter Rabbit.  This simple moment, in the loneliness of the night, had made the measured brain that occupied Georgia’s head spark. She was someone’s mum. She belonged to Charlotte. Nothing that Georgia would ever do from now on is good enough yet at the same time, everything became extraordinary. 

                 Georgia isn’t naive. In the beginning, and now still, Charlotte could be a terror. Rest assured, she isn’t the angel her parents think she is. Yet Georgia’s life remains; grows; strengthens every moment since “Day One”. Every moment since Perfectly Plain became simply Perfect.

So??!! What did you think?? Any comments would be much appreciated, but please be gentle! Thanks for reading.

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