julz

julz

Alexandra Hills, Australia

playing families...

She sat at the table, the light summer breeze drifting across the patio, the cool plastic almost sticking to their skin in the light summer heat. Toby sat in his high chair at the end of the table, he pushed the sandwich around the tray oblivious to the adults or maybe doing it to invite their attention.

She sat her glass of juice back on the table and looked at her grandparents, she remembered when she’d been a child they had been so healthy and strong and she had been in awe of them to the point they scared her, now they looked frail and wise and more then anything she wanted their approval.

“You think I’m doing the wrong thing?” She asked the question she’d avoided all lunch, her grandpa sat at the head of the table, her grandma opposite her.

Grandma dabbed at her mouth with her napkin.

Grandpa looked her straight in the eye, she couldn’t read it, “It’s not our place.” he said and continued looking at her.
She sighed and brushed a strand of her long brown hair out of her face, towards her long pony tail.

“He’s Toby’s father.”

“You’re a grown up and a mother,” Grandpa said. “It’s your call to make.”

He pushed his chair back and walked to the counter, bringing back the bottle of wine. He poured into each of their glasses, then silently returned the wine to the cooler and resumed his place.

Grandma took a sip, “You don’t need our approval.”

Jemma nodded. She felt like a 5 year old not a 25 year old. In some ways she knew they thought she was making a mistake, but there was something they weren’t saying…she knew they didn’t disapprove enough to voice it which said something, she’d heard their opinion on many subjects and knew if they felt strongly she would know. It’s not like they knew Grant to judge him either way.

Toby hit the tray with his hand, making his sandwiches jump then giggled. Jemma sipped at the wine and stared out across the garden. Toby hit the tray again making Jemma jump.
She sat the glass down, “Come here mister,” she cooed as she unclipped his seat belt and lifted him from the chair onto her knee. She pushed her plate out of his reach just as he lunged for the table.
Grandpa put his hand out letting the baby wrap his hand around his finger. Grandma stood and collected the plates. Jemma sipped her wine, her other arm holding Toby in place on her lap as he laughed and played with grandpa.

“He hasn’t seen the boy?”
She looked up, Grandpa had spoken softly, she almost hadn’t heard him. She followed his gaze to Toby’s head.

“It was the distance, you hadn’t seen him before we arrived last week to stay with you for the holidays.” She spoke calmly, unsure why she was defending Grant. Grandpa nodded but she saw in his eyes that his train of thought was linking up that the distance wasn’t too far to get pregnant.

“I’m moving to be closer to you and Grandma, to be closer to friends, it’s up to Grant what he does but I’m not going to stop him from being a part of Toby’s life. Toby has a right to know him and it will be easier for everyone when he’s older if I’ve helped that contact.” Toby pushed against her legs with his small legs, she helped him stand, him resting his body against her arm for balance.

Grandpa pulled out his puzzle book and pen, signaling he had nothing else to add.

Jemma stood, tucking Toby against her hip. She walked inside, placing him on his rug with his toys, she walked to the kitchen, and picked up a tea towel, keeping an eye on Toby she silently wiped the plates that Grandma was washing.

“Am I doing the right thing?”

“No one knows that, love.” Grandma replied not looking up from the sink. “You’ve made good choices in all the other parts of your life. We’re all proud of you.” She pulled the plug out, then walked to the fridge getting the milk out. “Tea?”

“No thanks.” Jemma replied, she felt odd; odd knowing Grant would be here soon; odd worrying that he wouldn’t turn up; odd wondering what it would be like seeing him again, it had been this time last year, last time she’d seen him she was 6 months pregnant.

Grandma walked outside with the tea pot, the sugar and the milk jug. Jemma went to where Toby was rolling around on the floor gargling at his toys. She pulled a wipe out of the pack placed on the coffee table and wiped his mouth as he laughed at her and tried to eat the cloth.
“Ewww! yucky, Mister. That won’t taste very good.” Jemma looked at the time, suddenly wondering if she could go through with this? really was it wise to give her baby to a complete stranger? Stop it she chided herself, he’s hardly a stranger- he’s someone you’ve know for a large part of your life.
To Toby he’s a stranger. He’s his father. What if he doesn’t watch him closely? What if he doesn’t know about babies? What if he takes him? She knew she was being stupid. It didn’t matter what had happened between her and Grant…she knew him well enough to trust him, he wanted to do this, if he had of been a jerk he wouldn’t of even acknowledged Toby as his son. The doorbell rang.

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