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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Knots, tangles and other urban myths

Married life in the United States was quite a jolt to our existence after a decade of unwedded bliss.

My daughter was a teenager and I was beginning to look forward to the idea of a whole new phase of life. At that time, we were under the impression that I was infertile and so it was quite a surprise to find that about the same time as my Green Card finally came through, I also found out that I was pregnant. It’s difficult to work out which one of us was more surprised.

We kept quiet about it for quite a long while to avoid jinxing the situation. Eventually we began to tell family and friends who were equally as surprised as us. One of our closest friends challenged us, the way that only a good friend can. So it was that a story was born. The pregnancy, or rather conception was deemed to have occurred whilst he was under the knife, during his knee surgery. The only logical conclusion was that the baby’s father was the anesthesiologist. More than a decade has passed since then, but the tale has become part of our family folklore, the truth of the matter laid to rest undisturbed.

“Do yer knittin Mum,” he barks
“Pick it up why dontcha.”
“Not right now, we’re cuddling.”
“I wanna watcha do yur knittin.”
“Really? Why?”
“Coz I like watchin yur knit.”
I oblige. I pick up the knitting and knit whilst my son watches intently, his nose only inches from the needles. His father walks in, stops dead in his tracks to make little fishy gaspy movements with his mouth.
‘Hi there, all finished dear?”
“What on earth are you doing?”
“Shut up why dontcha! Can’t yah see she’s doing dah knittin,” he admonishes but his eyes never leave the needles.
“I can see that. Why are you knitting?”
“Oh I don’t know. Why not?”
“But you haven’t knitted anything for years. Years and years.”
“I know but I started again whilst I was in England.”
“Really. Why did you start again……..in England?” he asks with an ominous tone.
“Well, you know. Sitting by the bed…….in the hospital……….I had to do something with my hands or I’d have gone barmy.”
“Hmmm what?”
“Well, are you sure that’s all you did in England?”
“Did you get up to anything else?”
“Such as? I was parked by that bed from first thing in the morning until last thing at night, mopping proverbial brows and the like.”
“And knitting.”
“How long were you there?”
“You know how long I was there. An extra week and a bit.”
“And how long have you been back?”
“You know that too, just over a week. What are you on about?”
“Can you remember last time you knitted something?”
“Not particularly. ”
“I can.”
“The last time you knitted anything was when you knitted a baby blanket, when you were pregnant with him!” He glares as his youngest son in an alarming manner. The alarming manner penetrates the spell of the one engrossed with knitting skills to provoke a “what?” from him at 50 decibels.
“Well, I’m just saying, or rather asking………er……”
“What?” we chorus.
“Is there anything you want to tell me?”
“Such as? That I’m going in for a knitting competition or something?”
“Are you?”
“Well……anything else?”
“I give up. Spit it out man.”
“Are you……maybe……perhaps…….pregnant?”
“Pregnant? Me? Are you quite mad? Of course I’m not pregnant, that’s impossible, you should know, you had the op.” I look at him. He looks at me. Our child looks from one to the other in confusion. “I am have a new……er bruvver?”
“No dear I’m not pregnant.”
"You only ever knit when you're pregnant. That's the only time you sit down. You sit down and knit whilst you're pregnant."
"I am not pregnant."
“But you’ve been in England……on your own……”
“What a fertile imagination you have. Do you really think I’d be cavorting around whilst my daughter’s at death’s door?”
“Well……I suppose not…….”
“Well don’t be so overly confident for goodness sake, I was only in England an extra few days and I had other things on my mind at the time.”
“I am have a new………er sister den?”
“No dear I’m not pregnant.”
“So you’re definitely not pregnant then?”
“How many times to I have to say it! 7 days knitting in England in a hospital doesn’t make you pregnant!”
“Hmm what?”
“It’s an awfully long time for you to have been in a hospital.”
“Don’t you think I don’t already know that? That’s why I was knitting, to pass the time.”
“I am have a new………er baby den?”
“No dear I’m not pregnant.”
“I suppose there were a lot of um……doctors in the hospital?”
“Of course there were lots of doctors! It’s a hospital! And nurses!”
“Male nurses?”
“She didn’t see an anesthetist by any chance?”
“No! What would she see an anesthetist for? She had Malaria not surgery.”
“Were you very lonely?”
“Er not really. I didn’t have time to be lonely.”
“And you went home to your parents every night?”
“You know I did. That’s when I phoned you with a progress report.”
“I am have a new sister or bruvver………er baby den?”
“No dear I’m not pregnant.”
“So you’re just knitting for…….fun?”
“Yur right Dad, dah knit is dah fun.” His father steps to one side in a hesitant manner to lean against the door jam, still deep in thought.
“You are be teach me knit?”
“If you like. It’s quite tricky though.”
“I am be learn.”
“Alright, let me just finish this row.”
“It will be eight?”
“Will what be eight dear?”
“Eight days.”
“Will what be eight days?” I sometimes wonder which one of them is more difficult to unravel.
“Er……if I am knit for 8 days den I am be pregnant? I am have my own baby. I can be a mommy too?” His father springs from the wall “not unless you’re in England in a hospital with an anasthes……..” I chuck a ball of wool at him as I already have more than enough iron-clad psychological associations to untangle.

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