Lily had Saturday all planned out.They’d have a leisurely breakfast and read the papers outside at the teak table on the decking, soaking up the sun’s vitamin D. New research proved that babies conceived in the spring and born in the late summer were taller and stronger because their mummies soaked up the sun’s goodness, Lily thought it must be good to get in early, like folic acid, and build up a credit balance. Then she’d booked an outside table for lunch at a place in Ham which William had read about in the Sunday paper and mentioned at least three times a week that he’d like to go there. The cult food and lovely garden surroundings would lull him into that lazy sensual mood she loved about him so that when they came home she could talk to him about babies, they’d make plans and make love and hopefully make a baby, with lots of cuddling afterwards. Then for their supper she’d ordered a delivery of sashimi, sushi and sake, because he loved everything Japanese. She was going to wear the new lemon kimono-style dress she’d bought at Kiko’s in BarnesVillage which she thought would nicely underline the Japanese theme.
She carried the breakfast tray outside. The first thing wrong was the tea. She had emptied his bag of favourite Arabica coffee beans onto the compost heap, because caffeine decreases fertility but is excellent for composting, and instead made a pot of green tea which is packed with antioxidants and anti-cancer stuff and generally very good for the immune system. And the Japanese drunk it all the time.
William didn’t even pick up the cup. “I’m not drinking this crap.” He lifted the lid of the teapot and peered in. “Ugh, looks like lawn clippings.” He pushed his cup towards Lily. “You have mine. I’ll make a quick espresso.”
Lily watched him stalk across the terrace and into the kitchen. She pictured him walking around the distressed oak table, past the cherry red Kitchen Aid mixer, past the six-burner hob to where there was a large space between the microwave and the stainless steel toaster. She wished she’d patted her lily cushion for luck. She had ditched the coffee beans and machine without visualising his reaction.
“Where the fuck has my espresso machine gone?”
It sounded to Lily as if he’d said ‘my’ in capital letters, which she objected to as she had bought and paid for the espresso machine. Yes, she’d given it to him for his birthday but really he should have said ‘our’. This is what got to her: he assumed everything in the house was his.
You can’t afford to think like this, she warned herself. Today was meant be a calm positive day, so she breathed deeply in and out and waited for him to come back so she could tell him about her lunch plans.
His breakfast lay untouched on the teak table. A lazy wasp was taking an interest in it, Lily shooed it away with her hand but it was persistent. She shooed it again. His bowl contained organic fair-trade muesli with honey and extra chopped Brazil nuts [selenium for protection against cancer and heart disease, she was determined that William would not have a heart attack like Granddad Howard], soya milk [low cholesterol] and chopped apple from Kent followed by plain bio-yogurt from Dorset cows. Where was he? Really, the wasp was showing more interest in breakfast than William.
She went to the kitchen door, the room was empty. “Darling,” she called, “a wasp is circling your breakfast. You’d better come and eat it.”
He appeared suddenly at the door and made her jump, he could move silently for such a tall man, his nearly six feet almost filling the door frame. “Freddie’s just called, he needs me at rugby. I haven’t got time to eat.” He disappeared again.
Rugby needs him?
“But you have to eat darling,” she called, “give me just 10 minutes and I’ll make you something tasty.” A boiled egg [free-range], she planned, with wholemeal seedy toast [low GI bread, unsalted butter] and Marmite. William never refused Marmite. She bustled around, assembling the ingredients, loving working in her kitchen, loving doing something for William.
“The captain’s injured and Freddie’s taking over.” He was back quicker than she expected, buttoning his shirt, the blue checked lumberjack shirt she’d bought for him on impulse last week and for which he hadn’t said thank you. Thank you it’s my favourite colour, thank you darling for thinking about me.
Lily stood, the egg box in her hand. “What?”
“It’s a key game, if we beat South Linton Swifts then we go to the top of the league. Above Bridingham Bees.” He looked at her as if he expected a reaction.
“Oh,” she said. But you can’t go out, she wanted to shout. Don’t shout, she almost shouted aloud to herself. Say nothing. “But I wanted to talk about having a baby.” She ignored the way his eyebrows raised, she’d started so she might as well say it all. “I went to the doctor yesterday to ask why it hasn’t happened and he said the first thing is not to panic.”
William stared at her, his fingers still on the bottom button of his shirt. “We’re not panicking.” His voice had changed. “Lily we can’t talk about this now, Freddie needs me, kick-off is at 11 and it’ll take me an hour to get there.”
And he turned and was out of the door before Lily could say “Can I come too?”
It was 9.30, plenty of time to get to Ealing. Quite how William could help Freddie from the side of the pitch Lily did not know. He seemed to need a lot of help and support though, and for a fleeting moment she wondered if Freddie was gay.
Lily spent the rest of the day devising Sunday’s lunch: ‘Plan Chocolate’. She liked to give her lists a memorable name. She went to the bottom freezer drawer and checked her notebook, hidden where William never looked because the drawer was full of leftovers she bagged and froze to eat as single meals when he was away. William wouldn’t eat leftovers, not knowingly anyway.
‘Plan Sushi’ was the Japanese dinner tonight.
Inviting William’s dad for Sunday lunch was the only guaranteed way of keeping William in the house all day. She leafed through the lists until she found the ones she wanted: vitamins and supplements; daily pre-pregnancy, pregnancy and post-pregnancy exercises; things to do while pregnant like get her teeth fixed for free on the NHS; list of good foods for William to eat; list of good foods for Lily to eat.
She checked ‘Plan Chocolate’ again. They would sit in the garden and drink a bottle of red wine from William’s stainless steel wine rack on the wall of the utility room [full of procyanidins, if she’d pronounced it right, good for the heart] and chat nicely, then everyone would snooze in deckchairs after lunch. William liked his father, sometimes Lily thought he was the only person William did like. Now she’d be able to serve freshly-picked spinach too [lots of iron and fibre so good for digestion].
William was always in a good mood after seeing his father, the three men would talk about the stock market and equity and bonds and all that sort of stuff, then Charles and John would go home leaving William mellower than he had been all week.
Then Lily would talk to him about babies.
© Sandra Danby
…in IGNORING GRAVITY #34: Rose meets best friend Maggie for full adoption disclosure…
This is the 33rd instalment of ‘Ignoring Gravity’ about identity detective Rose Haldane. To start reading from the beginning, please click on the category ‘My Novel: Ignoring Gravity’ in the right hand menu.