sitting on a slightly not big enough chair and Bob stands between my legs
facing me. His hands are flapping and I try to still them in mine. They flutter
inside my fists. Little birds. He looks at me and I am triumphant. See, I
think, eye contact. So he’s not… you know. He’s not. We’re in a waiting room.
There are plastic toys in primary colours scattered throughout. More
traditional ones too. An abacus. Books. There’s even a slide. It’s a room
carefully designed to appeal to children. In the corner two kids are pretend
cooking wooden biscuits in the toy oven. Expensive biscuits; I’ve seen them for
sale. Designer toys for designer mums. Not for… well…me, us. I let go of his
hands, tug my top down, check my phone, glance at a couple flicking through
“Do you want to play,
Bobby? There’s a brmm brmm down there.”
pick the car up and run it along the arm of my chair. Bob takes it from me and
puts it in his mouth.
“No. Dirty. Yucky,” I
say, pulling it away.
squats down by a table puzzle, moves beads along coils, click, click. The
doctor is late. There have been tests. Bob has been observed at play, at
pre-school. Blood has been taken. I’ve been asked, many times, if I smoked
during pregnancy, breast fed, vaccinated. How many times a week I bath him. I
lied about that one. He has eventually met age appropriate milestones, but… well,
yes, I can see there is cause for concern. It’s best to check.
is moving all the beads back the way they came now and he’s absolutely focussed
on this task. He’s beautiful. Thank God! I couldn’t cope with an ugly child.
There’s a boy in pre-school who dribbles and his chin is red and sore. He has
these wishy washy pale blue eyes and too much forehead. Bob’s eyes are conker
brown and shiny, his face a perfect round. He does not dribble. This matters.
It’s not everything, but it’s something. Bob is humming. At least… it’s sort
of a hum. It comes from his throat, a deep guttural mm mm mm. The kids in
the corner have given pretend biscuits to their parents who are exclaiming over
how delicious they are.
nurse says that Dr Hameed will see me.
“I’m sorry, Bob just
needs the loo,” I say, and we leave the stuffy room, walk through the
overheated corridors and exit into an outside where the air feels clean,
perfectly chilled, full of oxygen, and I breathe deep.
Sara Crowley feels awkward writing the obligatory third
person accompanying blurb. She spends a lot of time not writing her first
novel. She wishes her fingers were more elegant. She blogs at saracrowley.com
and appreciates you taking the time to read this.