Today is February the 1st. Which means it’s my day, St Brigid’s day! It marks the midway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, so is considered by some to be the first day of spring. Also, it’s my name day. Me me me. So go and celebrate! Happy Imbolc!
Coincidentally, the spark word at my Saturday writing group was ‘nature’. So I’ve written, as per, a 1 hour story about nature. This one actually has an ending of sorts, though it is MEGA CHEESY. Apologies about that.
Here is ‘Nature’, in all its glory:
“…Take them twice a day, Mrs Godfrey, and that should heal up in no time,” smiled Dr Ray at the ancient woman with the most horrendous toe fungus he had ever seen. She smiled back at him, then slowly shuffled her tiny body out of the surgery.
Ray shuddered to himself as the for closed behind her. Feet were the worst. He’d never been keen on them; even when his girlfriend showed off her pretty painted toenails, he recoiled a little. Still, the next patient was not an 88 year old lady, it was a 32 year old woman, so unlikely that she would be suffering from foot-related fungus. You just never knew, however, he reminded himself. You just never knew.
After he had signalled for the next patient to come in, he watched as the door opened and the most beautiful woman he had ever seen entered. She had auburn hair which fell in pre-Raphaelite ringlets around her cherubic face, which was porcelain-white, and makeup free. She wasn’t small, and wasn’t big either. She was just perfect. He felt his mouth dry, so took a deep drought from the glass he kept by the photo of his girlfriend. Amber was pretty, sure, but she paled into insignificance next to this goddess.
“Miss Hamilton?” he asked, once he had gathered his composure.
“Mrs,” she corrected him, a tiny smile playing on the corners of her lips. “But please, call me Fiona.”
“Fiona,” he said. He rolled the word around in his mouth a few times. It was delicious. Fiona, Fiona, Fiona. “What can I do for you today, Fiona?”
“Well,” she started, then stopped.
There was a pause for a minute, then Ray asked, “is everything ok?”
“Ye-es,” said Fiona, still hesitating, then she sat upright, looked at Ray with her deep violet eyes and asked, “is it illegal for your husband to steal your baby?”
“Sorry?!” spluttered Ray.
“My husband. He’s stolen my baby.”
“Right,” said Ray, trying to compose himself, and wondering what to say next. Fiona was clearly very vulnerable, and he longed to embrace her, to take her cares away. But he had no idea, no professional idea that is, of what to do next. He was stumped. Eventually, he asked, “is it your husband’s baby?”
“Oh yes,” said Fiona in that angelic voice she possessed. “I’ve only ever been with two men, and the first one was in my teens. It’s definitely my husband’s baby. But he’s stolen it.”
“Do you have any idea where he could have taken it?” asked Ray, wondering why she kept on referring to the baby as ‘it’.
“Oh yes. He’s taken it to hospital. But I don’t want him to.”
“Is,” said Ray, treading very carefully, “the baby sick?”
“Oh yes,” said Fiona, quite cheerfully. “Very sick. We think it’s whooping cough.”
“Then surely a hospital is the best place for a sick child?” suggested Ray.
“No, no, not at all,” said Fiona, suddenly very firm. “It’s not natural.”
“Not,” repeated Ray, “natural.”
“No. I don’t mean – “ she held up her hand to stop him interrupting, “I’m not a lunatic!” she laughed a terrifying tinkly laugh. “I’m not at all against medicine. Not at all. But they’ll pump it full of chemicals, and I just want nature to care for my child.”
“Nature,” repeated Ray.
“Yes,” she was earnestly nodding her lovely head. “I just want nature for my baby. My midwife was Mother Nature herself, and even though my husband told me off because I could have started haemorrhaging when the placenta came out, I survived the birth.” She proudly drew her beautiful head upright. “It was the most traumatic thing I’ve ever done.”
“You didn’t have any midwife at all?” asked Ray faintly.
“I did! I told you, Mother Nature! Gaia, the earth goddess and Brigid, the Celtic goddess of fertility were all the help I needed.”
She’s insane, thought Ray. She’s actually certifiable. All thoughts of wanting to stroke her hair, to hold her in his arms, to cherish and comfort her vanished. She needed help.
“And I tried everything,” she was saying, as Ray zoned back into the room. “I dried out the umbilical cord and gave it to it to suck on. I fed the baby the ground placenta. I lit candles and collected dew and danced. And I’m sure it was working, but husband stole it and has taken it to hospital, where they don’t understand nature at all, and will put chemicals in my baby!” She started to sob.
“But the chemicals will make the child better!” Ray almost shouted. “You must think of what is best for the baby! You haven’t even told me if the baby is a boy or a girl! How can I help you recover your child I don’t even know its sex!”
Fiona looked at him hard.
“It has a penis, if that’s what you mean, but it isn’t ready to choose yet. Who knows – it might turn out to be an animal, instead of a human. Imagine,” she said, starry-eyed, “if I had given birth to a tiger instead of a human child. Wouldn’t that really be something?”
Ray couldn’t believe he was going to attempt reason with Fiona, but he did anyway. “Surely the most natural thing is to raise your son – ” here Fiona shuddered – “as a boy, and if he feels he’s in the wrong body later, he’ll let you know.”
Fiona looked coldly at him. “I can see that I’m wasting my time here,” she said stiffly. “I thought you would understand, but you’re just like the rest of them. Telling me to talk to someone, to ‘get help’ – I don’t need any help! I carried that child for nine months, for nine months!” She was screaming now. “And I know it better than anyone! It’s my child, mine mine mine! And he – ” she spat out the word, “has taken it to hospital. To a bloody hospital!” She lay in the foetal position and wept while Ray discreetly phoned for an ambulance.
That evening, Ray was having glass of wine. His third, but who’s counting? He was exhausted. He listened to Amber as she chatted away, clearing the dinner plates and telling him all about Samantha in HR, who’s covering Jan on maternity leave, and is such a bitch.
“I’m sure she’s cheating on him,” she continued, as she sidled on the sofa next to Ray. Ray blinked.
“Who’s cheating on who?” she asked, a little blearily.
Amber clucked. “Samantha, the next HR person. Her boyfriend, Joe, he’s really nice. I met him at a conference once and – oh, did I tell you? I got my toenails done today.” She pulled off her socks and wriggled her dainty toes at him, which had a covered of pale lavender on the nails. Ray was suddenly very glad to see her feet.
“Your feet are lovely,” he said, in all honestly. “I’ve never told you before.”
“Thank you!” beamed Amber as she slid her feet back into her socks. “And how was your day? I’ve waffled enough about me.”
“It was – ” Ray considered. “Interesting.”
“Oh?” said Amber, wide-eyed. “How come?”
Ray was tired. “It just was. Come on,” he said, standing up and taking her hand, “let’s go to bed and let nature take its course.”
Amber giggled. “I love it when nature takes its course.”
“So do I,” said Ray. “Sometimes.”