A small cold fear.
'Yes?' I said, barking it not unlike Father Jack. I am easily surprised.
I turned and was confronted by an enormous person with a baby strapped to their chest in some sort of sling.
'Me, old school chum, from school.'- she didn't, by the way, actually say that, she gave her name, rank and serial number but you can't have them, you might be her for all I know.
'Oooooooooah' I said, usefully.
'How the hell are you!?'
'Oh, I'm fine and you?'
Well we exchanged pleasantries as you do and after a few moments I ran out of things to talk about and I said, 'Well it's been great to see you but I-'
'Do you want to go get a drink?'
'Oh I can't- I've got to get to Fallon & Byrne before they close and-'
'I'll come with you.'
'Oh, okay then.'
So we went to Fallon & Byrne where I bought cooking chorizo and black pudding for the lentil stew the paramour promised to make. She talked and talked and blocked out the light. After that we went for coffee in Starbucks as this apparently is what the lady in question likes to do most when she is in Dublin. The whole time we were out and about the baby strapped to the front of her chest neither moved nor made a sound, and disturbingly she made no reference to it other than to say she had four of them in total.
By the time I had finished my luke warm mocha I was getting antsy.
'That is a very quiet baby you have.'
'Yes,'said she and off she went telling me about the various marriages girls from my year had made and so on.
We left Starbucks and it was getting dark and cold. She buttoned up her great coat and leaned in to crush me in her mighty arms.
'It was great to see you again, I can't wait to tell the girls.' She said.' You must come visit.'
'Muuffghh.' I said. But underneath the yards of scratchy wool in which I was engulfed I was trying to not to crush the non moving baby. I did manage to place my hand on its tiny fingers, they were cold.
By the time I had walked home I was doubly perplexed.
'What's eating you?' The paramour said, as I took of my coat.
'Do you think it would be rude to interrupt a person talking and ask them if their baby is real?'
'What about dead?'
'Yes, I think that's probably rude too.'
'I feel very old.'
'I don't know.'
'Do you want dinner?'
'Do you want babies?'
'Nothing. Sure, dinner would be fine.'
Then he made steak and chips and although they were delicious I could not get the small unmoving blueish baby hand out of my head.
Labels: babies are small.