Tales of food, sex and friendship




Season 8, Episode 1

October 30, 2012


Mia perched uncomfortably on the edge of the bath. She had her eyes shut, trying to calm her mind by focusing on everything around her. The hard ceramic ledge she sat on. The cold tiles under her feet. Outside, a garbage truck doing the early morning rounds. A barking dog. A whoosh of air as a car drove past. The neighboring front gate opening and closing.

The plastic stick clutched in her hand.

She’d had her eyes closed much longer than the requisite five minutes, but couldn’t bring herself to look. She kept telling herself she’d count to sixty and then open them. Once she reached three-hundred and sixty, she gave up on that. The sensible thing would be to treat it like a band-aid – just see the result. After all, not looking wasn’t going to change the outcome. Whatever it was.

Down the hall, a bedroom door opened and she could hear footsteps padding towards the bathroom. A knock on the door.

“Yeah?” Mia answered without opening her eyes.

“You OK?” It was Johnny.

“Yeah, fine. I’m fine.”

“You coming back to bed?”

“I’m just about to have a shower.”

A pause. “All right.”

The footsteps went away, the bedroom door closing again. Mia took a deep breath. She couldn’t stay in here forever. She opened her eyes. It took a moment for them to adjust to the light, but when they did she finally looked at the white plastic stick in her hand. Two pink lines. She scrambled for the box of instructions. Two lines. Pregnant.

It wasn’t really a surprise, but she still felt as thought the breath had been knocked out of her. With certainty came responsibilities and questions. Questions she didn’t have answers to.

“Fuck.”

She wrapped the stick carefully in toilet paper and buried it down the bottom of the rubbish bin. She washed her hands and brushed her teeth, not able to look at herself in the mirror.

Another knock on the door. This time Ana, needing the bathroom so she could get ready for another job interview.

Mia pulled her robe tightly around her and opened the door. Ana flashed her a grateful smile hurried past, not noticing her friend’s pale face and shaking hands.

Mia paused outside her bedroom door, heavy dread settling over her like a mantle. Things had been going so wonderfully with Johnny. This was sure to change that. She fleetingly wondered how long could she keep this from him. A month? Maybe two? He wasn’t an idiot though. He’d figure it out sooner or later.

She poked her head around the door. He had the duvet wrapped around him, his back to her.

“I’m making a herbal tea. You want one?”

Johnny rolled over, making a face. “Not coffee?”

Mia shrugged. “I don’t feel like coffee. But I can make you one if you want.”

Johnny grinned, his hair sticking up at funny angles. “Can I drink it in bed? With you?”

Mia couldn’t help but smile at him. “Yeah.”

***

“I’ve got some wonderful news. We’re having a baby.” Mia poured water on top of her peppermint tea bag. “Johnny, I’m pregnant.” She absently started at the stove-top espresso, waiting for it to gurgle. “Hey, funny story: Cecelia’s not the only one pregnant with your child! You’re going to have two kids!” She groaned aloud, picking up the cups. The butterflies in her stomach erupted as she made the short journey back to their bedroom.

She was surprised to see Johnny sitting upright in bed, looking at his phone. He didn’t notice her come in, only glancing up when she placed the tea next to him.

“I’ve just had the craziest email,” he said slowly.

“Oh yeah?” Mia suspected it wasn’t half as crazy as the news she was about to tell him.

“Yeah,” Johnny said. “It’ from Cecelia.”

Cecelia. Mother of his nearly-born child in Australia. A woman who had never exactly been the bearer of glad tidings in Mia’s opinion.

“What does she want now?”

Johnny handed her his phone. “Read it.”

It was an essay of an email and Mia skimmed it quickly, her mouth falling open the further she read.

“But… I thought she said…” her voice trailed off and she looked at Johnny. “What does this mean?”

“It means I’m not the father,” Johnny said. “She was lying to me all along. She made me believe I was the kid’s father becuase she didn’t think the other guy would stick with her.” He ran his hands through his hair and expelled a loud breath. “Who does that shit, Mia? She was going to totally screw up my life.”

“Screw up your life?”

“Well, yeah. Kids. They change things. I wouldn’t have been able to stay here forever. I would have had to put so many things on hold. I would have had to put my – our life on hold!”

Mia tried to blink back the tears that were starting to form in her eyes. Johnny saw them and pulled her into a hug, misreading them for tears of joy.

“Isn’t this the best news Mia? It means that I have no ties to her now. Nothing at all.”

“It’s really great,” Mia said. “But… you aren’t a little bit… I don’t know. Sad. Upset. I thought you wanted kids?”

“I do,” Johnny said. “One day. Not now though. No way. I am so not ready to have children. No thanks. I feel… relieved. Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders.” As if to demonstrate, he leaped out of bed and twirled around the room, collapsing back on the covers in a heap. Mia could only stand and watch, hoping that her face didn’t betray her true feelings.

“I thought you’d be happier,” he said.

“I am,” said Mia. “It’s just…”

“What?”

She sighed. Now was most definitely not the time. “Nothing. It’s nothing.”

***