August 2002: the day I tried to tell my friends that I was pregnant.
I was 3 months pregnant and hadn't told anybody except Carlo. My parents were about to find out. An envelope was on its way to the UK with a card inside. Attatched to the card was a printout of my first scan. Next to it was written, “Here is the first photo of your first grandchild!” I like surprising people.
Now, I had the task of telling two friends, one from Positano, one from England. They were both very anti-pregnancy, pitying anyone who got themselves in the family way. The three of us had hired a boat for the day and as we set off towards the local Islands, I wondered how I was going to break my news to them. We swam and snorkelled in the clear green waters where the mermaids once lived and lured sailors down into the depths. I didn't know how to phrase it. I decided to wait until after lunch.
We sailed to a small village down the coast. The restaurant we ate at stood on stilts, hanging over the sea. We moored our boat and were picked up by a shuttle boat that transferred us to the small dock that led up to the restaurant. There were live lobsters in a tank in the corner and the sea rippled and sparkled below, through the cracks in the floorboards. I sat by the glassless window, so that when no one was looking I could pour away the glasses of wine that my friends insisted I drink. That might have been the perfect moment to tell them, but I hesitated. We ate never ending mixed antipasti, followed by fresh grilled fish and salad, then pear and ricotta tart. After we had finished, the owner brought us glasses of prosecco with wild strawberries floating on the top. We carried our drinks out to the dock, where we basked in the sun, swinging our legs over the edge.
I took a deep breath,“guess what?” I said, shaking with anticipation, or fright. I was going to tell them!
“ Ooh!” said my Italian friend, “Yeah, guess what? I forgot to tell you both, you'll never guess who has got herself pregnant?”
I froze. The name was revealed, somebody else, and they discussed the fact that she would have to marry immediatly, and why couldn't she have been more careful. They went on to discuss other girls who had not been careful enough, and I realised that neither of them had any desire to start a family or have their independance taken away from them. I doubted that they could understand that someone might voluntarily want to have a baby.
I decided not to tell them. They would find out sooner or later via the local grapevine. After that experience I found it hard to tell anyone that I was pregnant. And so it came to pass that 6 months later 2 of my 3 brothers and the rest of my family received some very unexpected phonecalls informing them that they were uncles. My friend from Positano was away on holiday, so I sent her an e-mail. She had found out, as predicted through the gossip grapevine,a few months before. My friend from England , however, knew nothing. She was very surprised when I turned up at her house with a small baby, and offended that I hadn't told her.
So I told her all about the day I tried to tell my friends that I was pregnant...