All about Adam
“For God’s sake, Michael, you’re obsessed with that idea.” Jane props-up her waif figure on the pillows. “I know how much you wanted a son but you’ll just have to make do with another daughter.”
I don’t answer. Instead, I lean over the cot next to her bed and fix my eyes on the new baby. “Adam and Eve,” I mutter.
“Hello there! We’ve already got Eve.” Jane is sitting bolt upright on the bed now. “And I’ll say it again in case you didn’t get it the first time round. We’ve got another daughter.”
As I scrutinise the baby, I think back to the first time I had mentioned my idea to Jane: to name our first two children after my dead parents – Adam and Eve.
“Remember – two children only,” she’d said – reminding me of our agreement.
Jane had accepted my wishes without protest and I felt relieved and grateful for that. Jane understood me – I’d always loved Jane for her soft heart. And her great sense of humour, of course.
I’d told myself – so okay, Eve had come first but Adam will be knocking on the door next. But yesterday, on a bright spring day, and two years since the birth of our first child, my dream had been shattered. Adam hadn’t arrived.
I squeeze into the armchair by the bed.
Jane is still talking, hardly pausing for breath. “I wish you’d been here last night. You know, if only you’d been with me when I gave birth as we’d planned.”
“Love, it’s not my fault if the baby decided to arrive three weeks early. I know you were against having a scan but…”
“How many more times! It’s against my religion. Anyway, everything was going along fine – there wasn’t any need for it.”
“You’re right, but I wouldn’t have bought that last-minute ticket if I’d known the baby was due early.”
“Its not like it was a home match, was it? No, you had to go trotting over to France.”
“Oh, all right. Anyway, I made my way back the moment I got the call from your mother, didn’t I?”
My mother-in-law’s words come back to me: “What do you mean, am I sure? I’m more than sure. You’ve got anothergirl,” she’d screamed down the phone.
As I sit by my wife’s bedside, I notice for the first time the strain in her face. There are dark circles under her eyes and the pain of labour and surgery is staring back at me.
Something clicks inside me. You’re a fool, I tell myself, and I feel the blood rush to my face.
I take Jane’s hand and squeeze it. “I’m sorry. I’m behaving like a spoilt child – after all you’ve been through on your own.”
Jane’s lips stretch into a smile. She opens her mouth to speak but stops short.
The nurse is approaching us with a pharmacy trolley.
She wheels her trolley by my wife’s bed. “Congratulations!” she says and gives me a wide smile. “You have a fine daughter.”
Jane looks down at her hands.
I mumble a thank you.
“Have you thought of a name?” the nurse asks as she gets ready to take Jane’s blood pressure.
Hmm…I clear my throat. “Well,I thought that since Adam had let me down, we’ll have to makedowith the equivalent.”
Jane looks up to the ceiling.
I look down at the baby. “We’ll name her Adami, the female form of Adam,” I grin.
“It doesn’t exist,” Jane protests.
“It does now.”
The nurse gives Jane a wink then gently rolls her trolley away.
I lean over and whisper in Jane’s ear, “She’s got olive skin.”
“Who, the nurse?”
“The baby, of course.”
“Now that you mention it…”
“Well?” I stare at her, puzzled.
“I’ve been wondering too,” she breathes.
“What do you mean, you’ve been wondering too?” I search my wife’s face for an explanation. “Wondering what?”
“Well, ye-es, you’re right, Michael, our new daughter has got quite an olive complexion.”
“Spit it out!”
“She’s not as pretty, you know, like our Eve was at birth.”
We both glance towards the cot and I spring to my feet to get a better look at the sleeping infant.
“From the moment the nurse placed her in my arms, I thought, well, I thought, she doesn’t look like our Eve.”
“Jane, what are you on about, love? She must take after your side of the family.” I feel my voice break down. “You know, my side’s fair. Our Eve’s fair like me – she’s got my grey eyes and all.”
“D’you think there could have been a mix-up?” she gasps.
“Did I hear right? D’you say mix-up?”
“Yes, by the nurses. I know it sounds ridiculous but it’s not impossible, is it?”
“Are you saying they’ve swapped Adami with another baby?”
“By mistake, of course – and she’s not called Adami!”
“Now I’ve heard it all.”
“After all, it was a Caesarean. I didn’t seethe baby till hours later.”
“If only you’d been here. I mean, you would have seen the baby being deliveredand we wouldn’t be here doubting…”
“Look, it’s impossible to mix them up.Theyput some kind of a tag on them the moment they’re born, don’t they?” I stop dead. “What’s the grin for?”
“I’ve got news for you, Michael.” There’s a twinkle in Jane’s eyes as she reaches for the buzzer above her bed.
“What, another of your conspiracies?” My voice breaks off when I see the nurse coming towards us. With a quick gesture she places the bundle she is carrying into my arms.
“Huh? Is this some kind of a joke? What’s this?”
“Our other baby.”
My mouth is open but no words come out. My arms start to shake and the nurse quickly grabs the baby from me.
“Oh, Michael.” Jane is in stitches. “We’ve got twins. We’ve got a girl and a boy.”
“And today,” puts in the nurse, laughing, “is April Fool’s Day.”
Written by: Nethi Sette
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