Helen flicked out the tartan rug as I start to unpack the food we made earlier. We were only speaking this morning how neither of us had ever been on an actual picnic.
It is unbelievably hot so I take off my T-shirt. Careful.” Helen says, with that slight smile of hers. “Topless, handsome Doctors can cause accidents!” She points over to about six or seven teenage girls riding past on bikes. Some of them are staring over. I laugh and kiss her.
We are both full and sleepy and the sun is shining down. I think we both may have nodded off for a while. I open my eyes. Two years ago she was the woman I kept seeing at the coffee place near the hospital. Eighteen months ago she was my girlfriend, now she is my wife and my best friend and the person I want to be the first and last person I speak to every day and night.
She opens her eyes and sticks her tongue out. “Stop staring at me mate, my Husband would kick your ass.” She laughs and kisses the side of my mouth. “Come on. I want to go home.”
“Are you okay?” She looks very tired. “I’m fine. I plan on taking you to bed and doing very rude things to you. I thought if we did them in the park we might get arrested. Imagine what your Mother would say!”
Afterwards we are in the bath together. Helen is washing my hair. “So. I think we should call your Mother tomorrow.” My Mother emigrated to Canada six years ago with her new Husband Tom. “Why?” She rinses water through my hair and puts her arms around me. “To tell her she is going to be a Grandmother.”
When Henry was born, I felt like I would burst. Helen was fine although she did threaten to kill me twice. My Mom and Tom came over from Canada for a month and drove us mad the entire time but it was lovely to see her holding Henry. Helen’s sister drove up from London and cried for three days straight. She kept saying “I’m an Aunt!” and hugging and kissing us both. When she left she gave us an envelope but said we couldn’t open it until she was back home. I think we probably waited about four minutes after she drove away. It was a cheque, made out to Henry for a Thousand pounds.
When he was five years old he got sick. He has a viral infection affecting his lungs. It was the longest two days of my life until Paul Carlson, an old mate who now worked Pediatrics, told me Henry was going to be fine. I cried, I’m not ashamed to say it. Helen hugged me.
Now he is a tall, gangly, stick thin teenager and I am driving him to his first day at his new school. I stop just short of the gates, as instructed and in a surprising display of affection he ruffles my hair leaping out of the car he says “Bye Old man!”
His best friend since Junior School, Aslim waves over to me and they walk off together through the gates.