Part two of Have You Ever Eaten a Hedgehog?
A couple of weeks had passed and I’d drifted from couch to car to couch, still homeless. Still pregnant. Still broke. Still thinking about the mysterious fire breather from that night at the bar. I was at another girlfriend’s checking my emails when a notification on my Facebook page appeared. I opened the message suspiciously. Hey, I hope you don’t think this is weird, but I asked around for your name and managed to find you… Anyway, I’m still in Auckland and there’s this fire night on at the mountain tonight. I can pick you up if you’d like to come? Oh. My. Goodness. This was it. He did like me! He wanted to see me! Tonight! I quickly replied a definite, but not too desperate, “yes,” left my number, and leapt up to quickly do my hair and change into something more flattering. I slid into his car shakily, trying to keep my cool. He pretended to be busy on his phone to avoid eye contact, which I thought was kind of cute. On our way to his nan’s house where he’d been staying we slowly loosened up and talked about how we’d both been living in Australia, how he had two kids; one in New Zealand and one in France, and how the others would be meeting us to get ready. Secretly I wished it could have stayed that way all night- just the two of us. Talk about a house on fire! I couldn’t remember the last date I’d been on that I wasn’t paid to attend, but the night went well. Better than well, it was great! It was another chance for me to stare at my dragon while he breathed flame after flame under a full milky moon and my head confirmed what my heart already knew. Maybe I will marry this guy one day, after all. There was a drum circle to the left of the fire dancers and somewhere within the small bump of my belly a very happy little boy jumped around to the beat. The first time I came over to visit I threw up on his doorstep. I was beyond embarrassed- definitely not my most glamorous feat. But he let me wipe my mouth on his sleeve and helped me inside to clean myself up. I was amazed at his poise and how little he minded that his sweater was now stained in puke. Apparently guys dig morning sickness. Yeah right. I found out later that his friends had warned him to stay away from me because one of the girls had mentioned I was pregnant. Yeah, like some gross disease you’ll catch if you stand too close. I never really wanted to bring it up, but it was pretty hard to avoid the bump which had started to grow under my shirt. I was on a time limit, still too afraid of getting attached to the dragon, but I never wanted this fairytale to end. That is until one day when I was lying on my back and he reached his hand across me and onto my tummy. My baby rolled from one side to the other, curling into his hand and resting there. With tears in my eyes, I finally opened up. “You realize this can’t last forever. I really like you… but I can’t bring myself to let you into my life if you’re going to disappear again. It’s not fair on me… or my baby.” He responded with a look I’ll never forget, and three words that changed my life forever. “No. Don’t you dare say those words to me if you don’t mean it,” I told him, too scared to believe it. He smiled and repeated himself. Our lives from that point onward continued together hand in hand. I was no longer alone at my ultrasound appointments and on my worst days I had a shoulder to cry on. At church we would stand side by side and occasionally during worship he would touch my belly and baby would roll into his hand every time. We drove to his parent’s home in the summer and camped outside beneath a blissful hot sun without a worry in the world, getting to know everything about each other. On Valentine’s Day I was in hospital. He had wanted to take me to an Italian restaurant for lunch, but settled for a meatball sub and a juicebox at my bedside with Italian music playing from my phone instead. It was perfect. One day we were stuck in traffic while on our way to another doctor appointment. When we finally arrived he dropped me off at the door and insisted I go alone for this one and that he’d wait in the car. On our way there I’d been complaining about traffic, doctors, life and humans in general. “I’m over it!” I shouted in one of my pregnant tantrums. He was rather accustomed to these by now and he gave the routine nod of the head and fake expression of concern. “I’m over this city and all its inhabitants!” I continued to moan. “I wish we could just run away to an island where nobody knows us. No drama. No stress.” Be careful what you wish for. My appointment only took half an hour. And within the space of that short thirty minutes he had made a few phone calls and big decisions that would lead us to where we are now. He handed me a handwritten letter when I climbed back in the car, slamming the door shut, ready to resume my rant. But all that melted away when I began to read. My Angel in Disguise, Sometimes it pays to take the plunge; to shrug off the fear of failure and jump! Thank you for giving me the strength and confidence to do both! You are amazing and I cannot wait to see where our journey takes us. You complete me. P.s I have a new job. It’s on an island. Welcome to paradise! God was so good to us in those times where we needed hope. A week later our prayers were answered and we shifted into our dream home; a treehouse surrounded in lush native bush, home to beautiful birds of the forest. The tranquil hum of cicadas became the soundtrack to our love story and this place was the heart of our many adventures to come. You cross a bridge through ancient trees and over the delicate trickle of a stream to arrive on the doorstep of our heavenly abode, which we crammed with books and paintings and photographs in the lofts and on all the shelves. Together we decorated the nursery, hanging dream catchers in every colour. Our kitchen cupboards we filled with our favorite foods. It had been so long since either of us had eaten a decent meal and we savoured each bite of our roast dinners. God performed miracle after miracle in our lives and we were drawn closer than ever because of it. I withstood and overcame adversity with my dragon by my side. I felt invincible, even at my weakest. He loved me and he loved my child. Our child. I can now say I do believe everything happens for a reason. On one occasion when my belly was hooked to a monitor we took the paper from the machine that was printing out the jumping line of our baby’s heartbeat. We promised each other that once he was born we would tattoo this line across our bodies; the connection of hearts. The connection of love. The connection of family. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; genes are not what makes a family. Any fool can make a baby- it’s not rocket science. But it takes a real man to be a father. And let me tell you, he is an amazing one at that. He’s more than a name on a birth certificate. He is more than the biological sperm donor will ever be. Because he’s opened his heart to this child who he calls his son, and he will never forsake him. Sometimes when I was pregnant I would lie awake at night, pretending to be asleep, and I would feel his cheek against my tummy and hear him whisper. “Hey Little Guy… it’s me again… I can’t wait to meet you. I hope you’ll like me. I love you and your mumma both so much. And I’ll always take care of you. Okay, good night Baby. Talk again later.” They still have these little secret conversations. Sometimes I’ll be making dinner and I’ll hear him from the couch saying, “Wow, Buddy. Your Mummy is so beautiful, isn’t she? Like an angel.” And it warms my heart. He is exactly the kind of father I always dreamed of having for my son. One day, I know Little Shot will thank me for it. As a mother I know I did the right thing, and I know this for sure every time he cuddles his Daddy when he gets home from work or giggles at the silly faces he pulls. It feels weird to squeeze the time we’ve known each other into one blog post. These words don’t seem to do our journey justice. We have seen each other at our absolute best and worst and have learnt to love each other through it all. I dunno about soul mates.. but if there was such a thing, he’d be mine.