Of course any chance I had of brushing it off as nothing was severely hampered by the fact that I was in a hospital surrounded by doctors and nurses who will instantly run to the side of someone who, um, 'trips' and falls. Fortunately the hospital staff had more important things to do than to look after a clumsy visitor. They left me sitting in the hallway to wait for a chance to see Patina.
Time to gather my thoughts was a good thing. A baby! I had always wanted kids but I somehow pictured myself being more grown up when I had them. Patina would be the perfect mum, there was no doubt about that, but could I be the father they deserved? I wasn't sure. For what seemed like an eternity my mind wandered trying to come the grips with the idea of fatherhood. As my panic was once again reaching a fever pitch the squeak of shoes alerted me to the fact that someone was approaching.
I looked up to see a nurse, more motherly looking than my own had even been, standing over me. She smiled widely and it was as if the sun had broken through the clouds. Surely no one could smile so big if something was wrong. "Seems like you've had a bit of a shock tonight haven't you?" "Uh yeah, I suppose I have." That was one way of putting it. "Well not to worry love, your lovely wife is quite fine and I can take you to her now." She smiled again and as I got to my feet, trying in vain not to tremble, she turned and lead me away. The corridor was daunting but having her grey bun bobbing in front of me prevented me from slipping back into the nightmare that brought me here. She slowed halfway down and cracked open the door softly.
As I started forward nervously she stopped me with a gentle hand on my arm. "Now don't be alarmed when you go in there love. The doctors got a bit nervous when they found out she was expecting and have gone the whole nine yards to make sure everything was in order. Just take it slowly, she's had a bit of a shock as well." Nodding I pushed the door fully open and slowing walked into the room. I stopped dead about halfway. Although the nurse had warned me I wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted me.
Seeing her like that, surrounded by tubes and wires nearly made me loose my nerve. Heart breaking I edge forward a tear in my eye. "Patina?" I whispered hoping for her to wake and yet afraid of disturbing her at the same time. "Bondi?" Her eyes opened slowly and she rolled over to face me. I gasp as her face came into full view.
"It's not as bad as it looks," she said grimacing. "Or at least I hope not." She chuckled weakly at that, it was just like her to be trying to make me smile when she was hurt. "I'm fine, really, and I guess the doctors let it slip that our little one is fine too." Her face creased with worry as she said that and her hands slipped down to protectively cradle her stomach. I could no longer hold on to any pretence calm. "Oh Patina," I sobbed kneeling next to the bed. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Patina was only kept in the hospital one day and I was able to take her home as the sun was setting on Bridgeport. It was not the home I had planned to be in for the next few years but it was the right one under the change of circumstances.
Bridgeport was the place of nightlife and excitement but I had very quickly come to realise that it was not the place I wanted to raise a family. I needed a place I knew was safe. So instead of going out and playing the club scene I took a job as a music teacher at Sunset Valley High School.
It was strange being back in those halls and having the kids call me Mr. Parfait but it made Patina proud and in truth it made me feel like the grown up I should be.
Patina transferred to a laboratory in town and although she was excited to be part of some of the cutting edge research they were doing I could see her becoming more and more absorbed with Filbert. OK I know what you're thinking, "Filbert? Really?" It started off as a little joke. Patina and I didn't want to know the sex of the baby but we felt a bit silly going around calling her bump It. So Patina started to call it Filbert to tease me (it was a name I had declared we would under no circumstances name our child). It didn't take long before dad caught on and I couldn't resist the little twitch of Patina's lip when I struggled to get myself to say the name.
Little Filbert grew at an alarming rate and soon the strain of trying to care for my little family was beginning to show.
I think she spent more time cleaning up and looking after me than I did her. To think that I was once again failing to be the man she needed worried me more than anything and was constantly on my mind.
I knew I wasn't the only one there're for Patina since we had moved in with my parents but they weren't getting any younger and it wasn't there responsibility to look after my two ladies (I was convinced it was a girl although Patina swore it was a boy). It was on a night near the end of here term that she once again proved herself to be the most amazing woman in earth.
"Darn it we are out of ice cream." As soon as she said this I leapt to my feet and headed towers the door. "Not to worry my dear Bondi is here to save the day," I said in my best super hero voice. Laughing she yelled after me before I made it half way there. "Hey Mr. Hero slow down there I can't waddle as fast a you run." "No need for you to keep up, I've got this," I said smiling and turning to go again. She sighed in a disappointed manner that caused me to pause as I reached to open the door. I peeked back at her trying make sure there was nothing seriously wrong.
Her normally smiling face was darkened with sadness. Instantly worried I rushed to her side. "Love is something wrong." My arms reached out to hold her as if I could protect her and the baby from whatever it was. "Oh nothing really." She smiled weakly at me to try and make me believe her but I could see through it. Although I couldn't read her as well as she could me I was beginning to learn when something wasn't as it should be.
"Is it really nothing?" I asked not wanting to push her but wanting to help nevertheless. She sighed again as if working herself up to say something. I steeled myself for whatever it was she had to say. "Well it's just that you seem to be working so hard lately to take care of me." "Of course I have, you and the baby need to be looked after." "Bondi, it's not that I don't appreciate everything you've been doing, because I really do, but well you need to stop." That pulled me up short."What do you mean stop?" I was unsure where this was going but I had a feeling I wasn't going to like it. "I don't mean stop looking after me but stop trying so hard." I opened my mouth but she stopped me with a look.
"I pregnant sweetie, I'm not an invalid. I can look after myself but what I can't, no matter how much I'd like to, is give you everything you need. Now let me finish," she said once again cutting me off before I could speak. "Sure I can doing things around the house and be here for whatever you need but there are some things I can't give you. You've been so busy trying to do everything around here that you are wearing yourself out. I need more than just being looked after I need you to take care of you. You are just as important as I am."
That didn't seem right. Surely she was more important then I was, even before the pregnancy. "You are my life Patina. If anything were to happen to you I don't know what I'd do." Her eyes soften as she raised her hand to my check. "And you are mine. That is why it is so important to make sure you sometimes put your needs first." Nope that definitely wasn't right. "Patina I am just trying to be the man you and the baby deserve. If I work just a little harder I know I can be better." I struggled to find the words to tell her how much I needed this, I needed to know that I could give her everything she needed
Her soft giggle brought me out of my internal battle. "Silly boy." She said still laughing. "We don't need you to be some sort of superman. We need you to be you, the BOY I married."
"So I shouldn't go get you ice cream?" This was just a little confusing didn't you have to be a man, a grown up, to be a father? "No you can get me ice cream. Just help me get my shoes on and I'll come with you. I can't seem to bend over very well at the moment." She had that mischievous glint in her eyes again and it brought a smile to my own face. As she mimicked bending over and not being able to get past her stomach my smile broke out into laughter.
With a few more talks Patina convinced me relax a little and remember the fun in life.
The doctors said that the baby could hear our voices and we should talk to Filbert so 'she' would know us when she came. It made me feel a bit silly to talk to the bump so instead I sang to it. It felt good to have the guitar in my hands again and play more than Three Blind Mice.
The bond between the three of us grew with every passing day. She blossomed and shined with an inner radiance that nearly blinded me with its brilliance. Although it pained me to see Patina in discomfort I did my best to make it as little as possible.
Of course sometimes my feet had different ideas of how to do that than my head did. Before I knew it the day had arrived.
I am proud to say I reacted with cool confidence to get her to the hospital.
Ehm, well eventually that is. Sunset Valley's hospital waiting room may have been a bit more cozy than that of Bridgeport but that didn't make it an easy place to be.
Mum and dad were there speaking softly in to corner but I couldn't focus on what they were saying. "No need to worry... It's not like it was... Nuala was different." I absently wondered what my Auntie Nuala had to do with this but didn't have the ability to dwell on it.
"Mr. Parfait if you'd like to come with me. There's someone I think you may want to meet."
Looking nervously at my parents and receiving a gentle smile from mum I followed the doctor out of the room. He lead me to room that was filled with baby beds and stopped in front of one near the end.
"Is that... is that my daughter?" My voice broke on the last word filled with the emotion of seeing my newborn girl. "Yes Mr. Parfait, that's your daughters." I could here the smile in his voice and I blinked at the realization of the plural. Twins! I knew they ran in the family but, wow, twins!
"Patina?" I asked unwilling to take my eyes off the tiny miracles in front of me. "Is she ok?" "Resting comfortably. You can go and see her whenever you are ready." That was all I needed to hear and I breathed a deep sigh of relief. I heard the doctor's footsteps as he retreated from the room leaving me to my moment.
I don't know how long I stood there but when a nurse starting wheeling Filbert (we were going to have to come with a better name or rather names soon) away I started. "Where are you taking them" I yelled after her. "To their mother." She said smiling. "Perhaps you should come too." Guiltily I followed after here chiding myself for forgetting Patina. She was indeed resting comfortably and looking very pleased with herself. After the nurse left I cuddled into bed with my little family.
"So what are we going to call this little one?" I asked nuzzling my girl's cheek with my way to big finger. "I was thinking about Moon Raker." "Moon Raker, hmmmm I like that but I was thinking about Mint Cream."
"Oooh Mint Cream is nice too!" She paused for a moment looking between the girls. Well we do have two you know so why not both names?"
I smiled at her, it was perfect. "Welcome to the world Moon and Mint."