I was driving 6 hours to go visit my sister for a long weekend. I had been married a couple of years by then, and things were getting a little, shall we say, comfortable. As I was driving off, I asked my husband if he wanted anything brought back from my trip. “Slippers” he said. Slippers – did I mention comfortable?
Never mind, I was off for a weekend in the big city. Country Mouse was on the move. Six hours in a car is a looong time, and I had gotten a little bit crazy by the end of the trip. Tired, Wired. And a little freaked out as my familiar country lanes turned to dual carriageways & then motorways. Where the hell did all these cars come from? Where was everybody going? Why did they need quite so many lanes? How’s a person supposed to pull over? Where was I going again? Why did I think this was a good idea?
I eventually found City Mouse’s place, and while it was wonderful to see her, all I was was fit for at that stage was bed. A blissful 12 hours later and I was good to go. We hit the city, shopped til we droppped and I picked up a few new trends that I felt were lacking from my sheltered life. I also bought the freaking slippers.
That night we were going all out. We were going out to dinner at a new sushi restaurant that had been making headlines. Then we were going to some city centre cocktail bars and maybe even a club. We got glammed up in our new gear, full make up, even heels.
It was my first time eating sushi (and alas reader, my last). The restaurant was all contemporary and chic and all the things I was not. The clientèle were too cool for school. (Ditto). This was the life. I generously deigned to let my sister order (not at all because I didn’t recognise anything on the menu). When our food arrived, my sister had gone to the loo. Not wanting to look awkward, and near faint with hunger, I decided to start. With no idea what I was doing, I took a massive spoonful of what looked like guacamole and spread it on something flat. It entered my mouth in one swoop. Aarp. I bet you know what I’m going to say next. (the clue is in the title) It was not, indeed, guacamole I had horsed into with such abandon but wasabi paste, which, I later learned is a root vegetable known as Japanese horseradish and used as a condiment. In case you are ever tempted to try it, it is akin to eating fire.
On her return, my sister was bemused to see me writhing in my chair, apparently halfway between a heart attack and an epileptic fit. She surmised the problem via a mix of telepathy and sign language. Any modicum of respect she held for her older, wiser sister vanished, perhaps forever. One jug of water later, we were laughing at my dilemma. Oh how we laughed. One of us less heartily than the other. I have no idea whether I like sushi or not. My mouth remained numb for the duration of the meal.
Figuring my sophisticated cover was blown, and still feeling queasy we abandoned our grand plans and went back to the pub near City mouse’s place. Sophisticated it was not. I ordered the traditional Irish cure for a sick stomach: a large brandy and port. Word to the wise: while one brandy and port is an excellent cure, six of them are, well, not.under. any. circumstances. to. be. recommended. Ever.
Whether due to the wasabi or the alcohol, I had lost the power of speech and was more than tired of the Neanderthals misguidedly trying to chat us up. Also, I eventually realised that it wasn’t tobacco they were smoking, and the atmosphere was full of an overpowering smell.
Between the night spent vomiting in the toilet, and the six hour drive home, I had plenty of time to think. City life was not for me and I was on my way home to my literal and metaphorical comfort zone. It was not so bad after all. It suited me. The thoughts that I had been hiding from all weekend began to surface. I was late, something strange was happening in my stomach and it wasn’t just the wasabi. I had just recently stopped taking the pill with the idea of seeing what would happen. I think it happened. So easily? Some people take years to, you know, conceive. I could hardly bring myself to think the word pregnant, let alone say it aloud. Many hours later I burst into my cozy kitchen and saw my husband. “I felt sick all the time and the food was funny and I think I might be pregnant and here’s your slippers!”
All he did was smile and say “Daddy’s Slippers” and just like that, I was home. We were home.
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