The morning had started as any other with Joe Christian waking at six am to shower and dress for the day ahead. His wife Mary was in the bathroom doing what women do in the morning as he was buttoning his shirt. The day previous had led to a chisel slicing his left thumb and the bandage now present was making this simple act a herculean task. As Joe sat and pulled his socks on one at a time he heard sobbing coming from the closed bathroom door.
‘Are you ok babe’ he asked nervously through the door
His question went unheeded and the sobbing continued now but it was getting louder and full of uncontrolled bursts of crying that made him fearful.
‘Mary, sweetheart, are you ok?’
‘I’ll be out in a minute’ was her quiet reply, and so Joe tied the left shoelace and sauntered down the dimly lit stairs with the beige carpet and Honeysuckle paint on the walls. It was quite drab but it was what Mary had wanted so he didn’t complain. The kitchen was old fashioned but had potential and he knew that with some time and effort it would be the kitchen Mary wanted, but right now it was a seventies flash back with orange cabinet doors and brown timber. Yuk! Joe made a mental note to do the kitchen renovations first.
After pouring a cup of tea and downing two slices of bread in the red toaster that matched the kettle, Joe bent down to grab a plate from the cupboard above the bench area, and made a beeline for the vegemite and butter in the fridge. As he stood with knife in hand waiting for the toaster to unload its partly cremated contents of hi fiber thick cut, Mary slowly walked into view, her eyes red and swollen with tears. Joe moved to her and held her tight.
‘Shhhhhhh, what’s the matter baby’ Joe whispered into her ear as they swayed together in a comforting embrace.
Mary’s left hand went to her dressing gown pocket and retrieved what looked like a white thermometer but it was nothing like Joe had ever seen before. Looking puzzled he took Mary by the shoulders and took a step back.
‘What in the world is that thing’ he asked
‘You need to sit’ Mary said as she guided him to the kitchen chair that was already waiting for his bottom.
‘You know how we decided not to have children yet because the business was still developing and money is scarce, well I’m pregnant’
Staring at Mary but looking straight through her, Joe slouched in his chair, and then stood straight and proud and said.
Mary nodded holding up two of the pregnancy tests.
‘I checked twice, yep I’m pregnant’
Joe walked over and cupped her face in his hands, brushing away the tears that were starting to dry salty on her skin. He thought at that moment he saw her skin glow as if inside she was a furnace and her body on fire, but it passed and he kissed her gently on the lips and said,
‘I’m going to be a dad’ and he hugged her tight. Joe was puzzled by this because he knew that he was infertile and that was why Mary was crying.
‘It’s ok I trust you darling, and no I am not thinking what you think I am, for some reason, I know this is my son your carrying inside you, and I am not angry, but filled with calm and, I love you so much’.
Mary cried again and she also knew it was Joe’s child growing inside her but she could not explain why or how she knew, she just had faith that was the case.
The months flew by and Mary grew more radiant each and every day, she never suffered from morning sickness or any ailment that a pregnant woman would endure. Her doctor was so pleased with her he wanted to know the secret behind such an amazingly healthy pregnancy, was it diet, exercise, or a combination of both mixed with relaxation therapy. But all Mary could say was that she was content within herself and knowing that fact it made the whole ordeal enjoyable.
Joe was working all the hours he could to ensure there new baby would have the best start in life it could and deep inside he knew it was a son. The small unassuming home in the suburb of Findon was thirty years old and Maria street backed onto a potato plantation that was still growing spuds for the local green grocers and markets that surrounded the mainly Roman catholic Italian based community.
The house was two stories and simple in layout with an entry hall that led past the main bedroom and study to an open planned kitchen, lounge and dining area. Upstairs was a utility area and two bedrooms with their own shower and toilet. The layout was simple and plain but Joe knew with some paint and some love it would be a home.
A new contract to rebuild an old home at Burra north of Adelaide, saw Joe away most days early and back late at night. But it was during the kitchen refit for this historic home that Joe talked the now heavily pregnant Mary into accompanying him for the overnight journey.
The rooms they had at the Burra Hotel was comfortable and bright with an air of old country living in it with its open fire place dining area and four post beds. The kitchen installation went well and on the afternoon of the second day Joe bundled Mary in the V6 ute and headed homeward.
About fifteen minutes in her water broke and Joe panicked he was in twilight and miles from anywhere does he turn around? Head for Clare or try and get to the hospital an hour away. No time the contractions were now thick and fast and he needed somewhere right now or she would deliver in the car.
He made a call to 000 emergency and told them where he was and he was instructed to find somewhere now and give directions as the ambulance was on the way.
Joe saw a drive way and signs up for a horse stud farm “The Three Kings” so he turned sharply onto the dirt track and head for the farm house with a now deep breathing Mary looking at him through concerned eyes.
“It will be ok babe” Joe said with an air of trepidation in his voice.
As the car pulled into the drive way the owner a huge man of about fifty plus years of age and standing six feet six tall met him asking why he was on his property. The mountain of a man Gary King strode with deliberate thoughts of trespass on his mind, until Joe pointed to Mary and he laid eyes on her in the passenger seat. It was like someone hit him with a bolt of kindness and he moved Joe aside and picked Mary up and moved her to the old stables which were renovated as guest rooms. He motioned to his wife as she joined them to get towels and blankets as well as sterile water.
The woman, Gladys moved as if on roller-skates and darted around like the flash bringing fresh items with every passing second. The flash of red and blue lights now hurtling up the drive way intensified the contractions Mary was having and she was squeezing Joes hand like a vice as she panted to a rhythm. The ambulance team arrived and as they hooked Mary to all sorts of equipment time seemed to stop and a glow of absolute calm descended over the scene. The animals on the stud farm moved in for a closer look and the doorway was filled with dogs and cats alike all calm and sitting in relative harmony looking upon the miracle we call birth.
The horses were braying and making an almost constant braying serenade around us and just as the head appeared at the edge of Marys vagina time came back into full speed again and with one huge effort the extremely persistent baby was born. The Hulk and his spouse the Flash were holding each other tight and looking on in awe at the sight of the seemingly normal little baby boy. The cord was cut and the child placed on his mothers’ chest so she could bond with the newborn.
Joe looked at Mary and then to the baby boy and said.