So you think you had a rough day? Let me correct you: No rotting, putrid flesh-wound of a morning that you may have experienced in the stagnant pits of Hell comes close to the horror that I went through before the sun had even risen. I wasn’t even sure it would rise, so severe was the darkness that veiled my miserable breakfast (a coagulating fried egg on a piece of stale toast.) My shit morning was definitely shittier than yours.
This is what happened. (You may want to find a well-cushioned stool to sit on, if you haven’t already.)
The short story: I spilled my tea.
The long story:
The film crew hadn’t finished packing up their equipment until around midnight last night, having spent 6 hours filming me and my daughter for The New 8-Bit Heroes. So I was already broken by the time I got to bed. My MUCH needed beauty sleep was interrupted approximately oh-two-hundred hours later, when my husband started snoring like a ferocious beast. Some men snore the classic gzzzd..d..pheeeeew… snore, but my man growls, guffaws and revs his nasal engine like he’s an entire Florida bike gang.
Once I’m awake, I’m awake. There’s no hope of returning to the Land of Nod, especially since the Krakatoan roar beside me wouldn’t stop shaking my brain until dawn. So I got up, made a simple and actually rather disgusting breakfast, pottered to my work station, and cracked my knuckles. I’d write a few chapters, that’s what I’d do.
So there I was, tapping away at a little scene involving a small altercation between a disgraced guardian angel and the ferryman, when my eyes slid to a tiny paper angel my daughter had left on my desk. “Oh how sweet!” I thought, in catastrophic error. I picked up the seemingly harmless little piece of origami, and stretched to place it ever so tenderly on the shelf above my head.
My husband isn’t his loudest when he snores. He reserves the most gargantuan decibels for when he does DIY. I think it’s somehow connected to the primal caveman in him: the desire, nay need, to announce to other tribesmen across the lands that shelves are being hung. I like watching him work too – it awakens the cavewoman in me, an equally primal instinct to bear him child. He hung this shelf up just where I wanted it, so I could enliven my workspace with a few little plants, a Tibetan bowl and an inspirational card that reads “Woman is Masterpiece.”
The little paper angel floated down like a dandelion seed, and landed on the surface of the shelf like a whisper. And then, in perfect slow motion as my jaw fell agape like a bleating goat’s, the shelf tore itself from the wall by its very screws and tumbled onto my horrified face. It landed with a thunk on the bridge of my nose, the thin bridge between the skull that protects my brain, and the now sliding projectiles. The pot of fern, Tibetan bowl and “Woman is Masterpiece” skated along the shelf’s sloping edge towards my exposed eyeballs. My sight was only saved by my instinct to duck, which of course launched the shelf over my head like a vaulting pole flicks its athlete.
The Tibetan bowl landed upside down on the desk, and was spinning there in the infuriating way crockery does, the sound reaching a crescendo almost as loud as my husband as few rooms away. To punish the universe, I grabbed the shelf bracket (with the plastery screw still poking from it), spun round and frisbee’d it through the cut out at the kitchen wall, secretly hoping it would smash one of the grey tiles my husband had grouted only last week (that’d teach him for having vibrating cartilage).
His caveman instinct ignited and soon I heard his footsteps thud-thud-thudding down the hallway to protect me from bears. I had to make the split second decision whether to be reasonable, or continue to fester in my fury. I chose fury. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed my forehead, scanned the room for perilous beasts, then went straight to my shelf to inspect the damage. The bowl was still wobbling, it’s perfect “A” hanging in the air like a star of innocence.
And that’s when dismay punched me in the emotional gut.
You see, nature decided, for some reason, that women’s fingers should swell when they’re pregnant. It might have something to do with survival, though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when giant turd-like sausage fingers would benefit someone who’s already incapacitated by vomiting and carrying an internal sack of amniotic fluid and developing human. But such is the way of it, and I try to comply with evolution whenever I can. So I’d removed my engagement ring, wedding ring, and the tiny sand-grain diamond that had already loosened, and placed them in the Tibetan bowl for safe keeping.
Where were they now??????? While my husband jabbed at the screw and mumbled something like “don’t know why it came loose, solid as a rock that was, stellar workmanship,” I clutched my almost certainly broken nose, and leaned forward to check the crack between the glass and the window frame, in case they’d spun off in that direction.
I’d forgotten about my baby bump. (They call it a baby “bump” because it sounds cuter than a baby “heaving, swelling mound of parasitic offspring”, which may appear cruel at first, but is in fact more accurate.) My dimensions are all off. I no longer have any idea where I begin and where I end. As I leaned over, my unborn child knocked over my mug of tea. The steaming liquid flooded the work area, with my freshly inked notepaper blotting it up and rendering my brilliant ideas completely illegible. I just stared. Then my chin began to wobble and I couldn’t see for the reservoir of saline welling up in my eyes. I left my man to wipe up the mess and threw myself onto the couch, sobbing into the cushions from the injustice of it all.
And there I lay, howling into the depths of tragedy.
Until I felt a little flutter. A few little popcorn pops, and then a sweet butterfly kiss as my baby turned around inside me. I stopped crying and opened my eyes, staring into the air. There it was again. And again! What an amazing feeling! My tiny baby had woken up and was pottering about inside me. My mind’s eye could see its sweet little body, stretching and flexing as it practiced for the future outside. Moments later, just as I was wiping the mingle of tears and snot on my pyjama sleeve, my three-year old daughter opened her bedroom door and pitter-pattered out into the living room, crawled up into my lap and said: “Mummy, I think even bees have elbows, but they’re very small.” My husband wiped up the last of my spilled tea, hung all my notes up to dry, and sat down beside me, his giant man-arms over my shoulder. I snuggled up, and smiled.
Dawn broke, and thin rays of pink light streamed through the paper blinds. And nothing else mattered but that joyful moment with my baby, my daughter, my husband and my broken nose.
I found my engagement ring in the end, but my wedding ring and diamond are still missing. It’s ok though – what they symbolize is stronger than ever.