“Be careful Lily.”
Someone held my hand. Sarah from work. I was surrounded by people: friend from university and work. Not the same places though. I stood between Jenny and Sarah. Where? What? I hadn’t seen the light turn green for the car. I probably got lost in my thoughts. I did that sometimes. But… I didn’t…
“Lily. Do you think we should go in the park?”
Sure why not? Wait! Oh. We were at High Park. I used to come here every weekend with my parents when I was a kid. But why was I here? And when did Jenny and Sarah meet? I rarely mixed my professional and private lives. What was going on? So confusing.
“Lily do you want a smoke?”
Sarah pulled a cigarette and handed it to me.
What? No. I quit smoking 10 years ago. Wait. Why the craving? I really had a sudden need for it. I had never craved a cigarette in years. And Damian would kill me if he knew. He hated it when I smoked. Almost dumped me too. He belittled my habit, made me feel so bad about it I never touched a cigarette afterwards. But now, I couldn’t help myself. I grabbed one and lit it up. God it tasted good. Why did it taste good? It should taste awful. I hated the smell. No, it felt so good. I could almost see the smoke travel through my breathing pipes. I should stop.
“Can you please hold mine for 5 seconds?”
I found myself with one cigarette in each hand when Jenny said.
“Hey Lily, look who’s coming our way.”
Shit! Damian. God! I had to get rid of the cigarette. Now! What should I do? I couldn’t smoke them both before he got here. Shit! I crushed both under my feet. I waved my hand trying to dissipate the smell I knew Damian would catch. Did I have? No. Why didn’t I have gums when I needed them? Wait I hadn’t chewed gum in at least two years. What the hell was wrong with me? Shit! And why is Damian pushing a pushchair? What was going on? Was I dreaming or something? He kissed me and smiled. No comment about the cigarette taste. What was wrong? I had to be dreaming.
“I’m so sorry honey. I have to get to work. They need me. I can’t bring Niamh with me though.”
“Oh my God Lily! Niamh’s so cute. She’s got your eyes.”
Sarah cooed. Damian’s face shone with pride, as he looked at me. I looked down; there was a baby in the pushchair I didn’t understand. What was going on? Why did he have a baby? Why? I couldn’t breathe. What was happening? I couldn’t… I was… Damian took me in his arms.
“It’s ok honey. Just breathe.”
I knelt in front of the little girl; she was tiny. Barely 3 month old. She had my eyes alright. I looked at Damian. He nodded. Could it be? Really? But they said I couldn’t… And why didn’t I remember? The little girl giggled. My? My little girl.
“Hello baby girl.”
She was so beautiful. Was she really mine? Everything turned black. It had been a dream after all.
“Beware the lion hunter!”
I sat in the grass in a garden. Damian was growling on all fours as if playing lion. Bella was standing beside him laughing and John was on all fours too growling on the other side, his son Peter on his back. He’d grown. Wow. Last time I saw him he was 1 year old. He looked to be 10 now. Wait! How could I not have visited Bella and John since then? Did Damian carry our baby girl on his back? There was something and it fell.
But no it was a plush toy. They all looked at me. They didn’t seem at all surprised that I screamed.
“Are you ok honey?”
“Damian. What day are we? What year?”
Sorrow was written on my best friend’s face, but the anguish in Damian’s eyes might have killed me.
I turned and there was this young boy 2 years old at the most, with eyes green as Damian’s tottering towards me.
“Lily, it’s our son Declan. You remember?”
“No… What’s happening to me?”
My eyes burned, my throat hurt, breathing… so hard. I must be going crazy. A dream within a dream. I had to wake up.
“Don’t fight it honey. It’s ok.”
“What’s going on? Damian?”
But the kid started crying. My son? How could I have a son? What about the little girl?
“Niamh?” I sobbed. Did I dream her? Was I dreaming this?
“Upstairs asleep.” He sounded relieved.
“Declan, why don’t you come with me?” Bella said. She gathered him in her arms and he nestled against her shoulder as if it were the safest place. He felt safe with her. His teary eyes gazed at me for just a moment. I should feel awful. What kind of a mother was I? I didn’t even remember my own kids.
“Be still Lily. It’s not good for your heart to panic.”
“What’s going on?”
Damian looked so sad. H looked just like my dad when he was telling me the same for the umpteenth time and I still didn’t understand. But so very sad. Like it was tearing him apart to tell me again.
Did I remember getting pregnant? No. Did I remember the IVF? NO! The last thing I remembered… well I wasn’t sure. Going to my parents for my 35th birthday dinner. But I didn’t recall seeing Peter since he was 1 and I had been 32. 3 years? What?
All went dark. Was it a dream? Be still my heart. Let me wake up from this nightmare. What would I see when I opened my eyes again? I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.
In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness Saturday be.