Monday, August 08, 2005


slideshow - 11

"So do you just come right out with it" asks Lucy, " like a scene from 'Husbands and Wives', as soon as you hand them the first drink?

-Can we have your sperm please?

Or do you make them a dope-laced sachertorte and get them quickly to the small room ?

Or do you do it formally with the dessert wine and lavender creme brulee?

-Actually we invited you here this evening for a special favour....

...I simply don't know how to get around it and at this rate it'll be years and then my eggs will be buggered."

Lucy is explaining to us over dinner that she and her partner are in need of a sperm donor.

Julian says:

"I'll do it!"

and I know, in a moment which could see our lives veer on to a completely different emotional track, that he means it.

Lucy spits our her champagne, blushes and then weeps. For the rest of the evening she has a sub-cutaneous glow of hope I know only too well.

When we return home Julian says:

"I could have a baby!"

I remind him that it will not be his baby at all and he adds, sheepishly but with the same glow:

"Well, perhaps later when it is grown up I could have some contact?"

The next day in the plane to New York I am waiting for the toilet. Sharing the wait are a mother and child in a playful embrace. The mother pinches her child's nose whilst making a farting noise and then pulls on her ears making the sound o a pig's oink. The little girl giggles at their shared ritual, repeatedly chanting "Mama!". Then she throws her ringletted head back and points a finger at me, saying the word again. She does it so many times she lulls me into thinking she truly sees my nurturing self shine forth. Eventually her mama becomes embarrassed by the pointing and asks me:

"Are you a mother?"

"Unfortunately not" I say, plastering my BRAVE FACE on to hide my shock. I've given too much away.

It is my turn for the loo and, as I sit there performing the mile high nappy-changing rituals of my 36oth bloody useless cycle, I choke on my old grief. I go with it, through it as I have learned to do, clean up my face and return to my seat and, though red-eyed, I am once more content knowing that life is beautiful if we go with the flow, and that there are simply scars which need acknowledging once in a while.

If Lucy and Julian agree to this it would be a bungy jump in to the unknown, but who knows how it could enrich four lives?

I feel ready.


Blogger andrea said...

I was at the opening of my first solo show and a friend who lives in Wales brought her two amazing small daughters in. She adopted them in China and, strangely enough, they were the highlight of the day for me when it should've been all about the art. I know this doesn't apply to your situation as many people are not interested in adoption, but the joy/sorrow expresed in your story made me think of it.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

Oh, hell.

I don't know you well enough really to be sending my love, but -- I'm sending my love. You're magnificent.

3:00 AM  
Anonymous zuleme said...

Who is the beautiful little cat?

3:47 AM  
Blogger Zinnia Cyclamen said...

It's not just your face that's brave, you know.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous viellegirl said...

Ruth, you are my hero! What a wonderful gift for Lucy and her partner to be assured that someone whom they know, as opposed to an anonymous donor, is willing to help them in such a special way. I have a close friend who has offered the same if I should ever need it. Although I still dream of finding the right man to share the experience of having a child with, if not, I know there is a "back-up plan". In my most melancholy moments, that offer puts a smile of hope on my face. Even if Lucy and her partner decide not to go through with it, you and Julian have given them a priceless gift.

11:36 AM  
Anonymous CarolineM said...

Very, very brave.

You do need to talk/think about it though.


11:51 AM  
Blogger ruth said...

thanks everyone! yeah lots of thinking to do for all four of us. that's my kitty zuleme on her first day with us a year ago. she was eight weeks and she is our baby.

3:01 PM  

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