Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.

31.1.13

Vertigo.

It was in the late 1970s, one of those hot January days when the heat will go on into the night and you get no relief. We - my first wife and I - were sitting in one of the waiting rooms in the rabbit warren they used to call Sacred Heart Hospital. I was sitting, she was trying to sit. She was full term. It was late. We moved to a room. She lay. I sat. The night wore on. We were both 19.

In those days, they sent you - meaning the father - home if nothing seemed to be happening. His name was Mr Suter. At some stage they go beyond being Dr and revert to Mr. Mr Suter told me nothing seemed to be happening and why don't I go home and sleep, and he would call me when any action threatened. I went home.

I didn't sleep. It was a humid, sweltering night and someone was going to be born in it. I made a drink. I turned on the television. I watched the late late movie and sweated. Vertigo. Some time during the night I fell asleep and dreamed Hitchcock's special effects and swirling graphics.

The telephone rang at five to seven. Mr Suter. "You're the father of a boy. It was difficult, so I didn't call you earlier. He's fine. Come over and see him." The phone rang off. Life was less complicated then. Even telephone conversations were less complicated.

The Mark II Jaguar shot up Buckley Street, left into Pascoe Vale Road and then right at Moreland Road. It snarled. You never hear old Jaguars snarling any more because they are all owned by collectors, but they were common then and people drove them fast. I ran a red light at Melville Road. I didn't mean to run the red light; I was kind of distracted. Adrenalin, I suppose. Two more minutes and I was in the hospital's car park.

I went up to the ward and looked through the window. He was in a humicrib. Tiny, red.

Suddenly the adrenalin disappeared. I fainted.

*

Happy birthday, Andrew. Andrew is William, Thomas and Alexandra's Much Older Brother.

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