February 1st, 2016, News of a baby from an angel
by Brendan Strong
Something like thirty and a half years ago today:
Sat on the couch in the Good Room
Six-, eight- and nine-year-old expats
Wondering who’d done what to warrant a Good Room talk.
Mum starts talking about God. This should be good,
Someone is seriously in for it: a Commendment has been broken.
Older brother? Younger sister? Which of us three?
A flash of psychosomatic, old time Catholic guilt: I hope it’s not me.
But no it’s something about us all being good
And being blessed therefore with a baby soon.
Seems like a lot of effort for a “reward” to me,
Sister six looks forward to dressing her,
Brother nine calls me “naive”,
I assume that’s a good thing but have no idea what it means.
Thirty years ago today :
I wake up and mum and dad’s away
I presume it’s something to do with the baby.
White sneakers syncopating in the dryer.
No matter, it’s Saturday, we’re going to our friends’ house now anyway.
They’ll look after us until the baby’s done borning.
We still wondered what a baby would bring,
Our friends had no idea what they were doing
Handing me sneakers and cricket whites.
A few overs, they presumed, would keep me occupied.
Not realising there was no coordination between my fat hands and squinting eyes.
Several runs down, they’re as disappointed as dad,
When I decide I’ll stick with the match
Rather than go meet this new sister I had
(I think they both cried in disbelief).
But now that sister’s thirty.
Her name is Jacqui
And I hope she’s having a happy birthday.
🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂 🎂