I got a text last Friday afternoon from my recently-a-father friend to say that he’d be in a pub in the city at seven that evening if anyone wanted to meet up for a drink.
I decided to go along to see him as I know that new dads don’t get out too often during the early days, and I’d only been in text contact with him up to that time.
It was only after I told him I’d head in to meet him – and whoever else might show up – that I realised I might be walking myself into a difficult situation. How was I going to react to all the cheer and good will and congratulations he’d be getting, the photos being passed around and the admiration of his baby daughter. Only then did I realise that I’d never been out to wet Littlegirl’s head with a few drinks. There had been no celebration of Littlegirl’s birth…all of those joyful things had fallen by the wayside when everything went so wrong.
When I arrived my friend was there along so I was glad that we had a chance to chat before more people arrived. I didn’t know any of the four people who turned up shortly after, which made things a little easier as none of them knew I had a story.
The blackberry was soon being passed around with photos of the baby, I looked at the first picture and then said to my pal that I’d go through them later. Looking through all those pictures would have been too much.
None of the people had children of their own so there wasn’t that much baby talk, though there was enough to make me anxious that someone was going to ask me how many kids I had….which the guy beside me soon did. WELL, when I flustered my way through the fact that I had a boy who was two and a half and that we had a little girl who died last December his reaction was text-book defensive body language. He crossed his arms so quickly they almost whooshed through the air…and only unfurled them about a minute later when he realised I wasn’t going to say anything further on the matter.
After that I had been there an hour or so and was ready to leave the bar before anybody I actually knew might arrive. There are plenty of people who I haven’t met since Littlegirl died and I’d had my fill of tender moments for one evening. In the almost ten months since Littlegirl was born I’ve only had to answer the ‘how many kids have you?’ question about three times…and I’ve got my words tangled up on each occasion even though I have a pre-prepared response.
I finished my drink and said my goodbyes. My pal told me that there may be another outing this weekend…and that he was considering getting a gang to come down to where he’s living (about an hour outside the city) for a few drinks and he’d organise a mini-bus home for us. I don’t think I’ll be taking that one on, I guess it’s a matter of knowing ones limits.
As I sat on the bus going home I wondered did they talk about what happened to Littlegirl after I left…or is the death of a baby just too much to contemplate.