The Ice-Cream Club

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Chapter 58 (EMMA)

For once Jim didn’t look so calm. The thin spun-sugar hair that was left atop the bald spot looked like early morning mist. He was unshaven and his clothes was a mismatch of brown sweat-pants, barely reaching his ankles, and a red T-shirt stating: “Keep going I’m married” with a picture underneath of a sad man standing in a no-parking sign ala “Ghostbusters”.

Deric smiled nervously. He didn’t look much better. It was two-thirty in the morning. Nobody has a fashion sense two-thirty in the morning. However, he was glad he have the good sense not to buy T-shirt’s with silly statements on it - or tight-fitting sweatpants - for that matter.

‘Where is she? How is she? Can we see…?’

‘Which one you’re talking about?’ Deric asked amused.

‘Both of them! How is Mae and how’s my godchild?’ Jim said as a big smile adorned his face, ‘and by the way, well done DAD!’ He grabbed Deric’s hand and shook it violently, ‘Congrats my mate!’ And then, ‘Oh the hell with it.’ He gave Deric a huge hug. ‘Well, done! Does she look like Mae, oh please, let her look like Mae.’ Jim joked, but his eyes betrayed him. They were moist.

‘When can I see her?’

‘Who? Mae or Emma?’ Deric said again jokingly but with a proud smile.

‘Emma,’ Jim said as if tasting something sweet, ‘Emma, I like! When can I see Emma and Mae?’

‘Just as soon as they’re finished in there,’ Deric thumbed over his shoulder. Josie, as per usual, barged her way inside. Sister or no sister, doctor or no doctor. Told him, Deric, the father, to get lost for a few minutes because she’s here now and she would take over.

You’re wife told me to get lost. Can you imagine, me, the father, to “get lost”’

’I told you she was poison!’ They laughed themselves silly at the bad joke.

‘Want to get some coffee?’ Deric asked, ‘I’m sure we can see her, or both of them, a little later.’ Deric said, still a little fuzzy in the ears.

‘Where’s Nathan?’ Jim suddenly wanted to know after they’ve ordered coffee.

‘Mom and dad were on standby since last week. They came over to stay with him the moment Mae called. He is sleeping in his bed unaware of all the big “hoo-ha”. I’ll bring him round later.’ Deric thought of the panic that engulfed him as Mae woke him just after twelve to tell him that her water broke. He thought he was ready and would act calmly. He was wrong. He still can’t recall stopping at any lights, or even if any were red or green when he drove past them. The last week of September was unseasonably hot, but he felt cold and sweaty as the ER staff took Mae off his hands and placed her on a gurney and then calmly rolled her off to a delivery room.

It still took more than two hours of support and some platitudinous words, backrubs, dabbing of sweat and feeling downright helpless and useless with every contraction, before the young lady decided to show up at a healthy three kilos. When little Emma was placed in his arms it was an emotion he hadn’t had ever before in his thirty-eight years on this Earth. Total and unconditional love as he looked down on the little scrunched-up red face and bald, tiny head. She looked like a little monkey, but to him she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever saw! And then she took his finger in her little hand and tried to suck the life out of it. He cried!

Nothing can prepare you – no class, no book, NOTHING can prepare one for the emotion!

‘FC, FC…’ Jim voice came to him. Jim turned back to the girl behind the counter and shouted louder, ‘Frederic Chopin!’ She shook her head and laughed out loud as Jim said, ‘That’ll bring him round. Don’t judge him! He became a Dad an hour or so ago, and the nappies and school-fees and clothes and boyfriends just hit him here!’ He made a fist to his stomach.

He heard Jim at last and from a distant, ‘I hope you’ve got some money on you, I was rushed out of my skull by Josie and didn’t even think about money, no wallet, nothing.’

Deric took out his wallet and pay for the coffee.

His smile threatened to go three-sixty, ‘Luckily, I’m organised, cool, and calm and collected.’ Deric said to the girl as he waited for the change.

‘Ghmph!’ Jim said as he sipped his coffee.

‘By the way,’ Deric gave Jim the once over, ‘where the hell did you get those pants, at the children’s section in Woollies?’

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