Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Violet's uncertainty principle

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I was in the Slug and Lettuce in Palmerston Road last Friday, with my soul sister and her new baby. He's beautiful. So is she, so I was in good spirits before I got there. But until I sat down and we started to talk, I didn't realise how much I had missed her, how well we know each other, how easy it is to talk to her and how much love flows between us while drunken students and middle class wine drinkers weave their way between table and bar.

It's a strange kind of pub, the S&L. It has a kind of London feel to it, but it's in the heart of Southsea. For some reason all the students in there were male, they were all wearing chinos and an assortment of 'hilarious' hats and I suspect that more than an average proportion of them were named Roger and excelled at Rugby. I do not have a reversed class prejudice, honest. I just often find myself resenting posh people, and I could stop that anytime I wanted. I've given up caffeine for forking out loud, now anything is possible. I'm psyching myself up for the London Marathon next.

Shon and I are very similar in lots of ways and our life experiences have some mirrored moments in them that has created an easy, shared understanding of the world and each other. This is rare. You may know Shonagh in fact, as she is now a national award winner, who recently scooped a Public Servant of the Year award at the recent Times Awards. She is also the most amazing, intuitive, generous and kind friend I am ever likely to know. She defines loyalty.

At her side was Shonagh's beautiful son, who looks more like her every time I see him. I've never been one for babies, even when my friends create them, but Shonagh's son is the exception that proves the rule. I don't think I'm that good with Hamish, but Shon reassured me that he was utterly attuned to my energy and she was certain he liked me. As if on cue, he rewarded me with a huge grin, which made my heart melt.

"You'll have a baby," Shonagh grinned, "I've always known it."

This has become a frequent topic of conversation between us since Hamish was born. At first, Shonagh issued a command that I should have a child, so that we could hang out together and our babies could be friends. The long silence that followed this suggestion was one only a best friend could ignore. At points, she can be quite Mrs Doyle of Father Ted fame about it: you will have a baby. You will, you will, you will, you will, you WILL. This is despite the fact that I've stated plainly that I would not have children since I was about 14. Again, only your best friend can state your mind, dreams and destiny more plainly than you can.

"You've always known it," I repeat, looking at her doubtfully. Repetition is often the best course of action when Shonagh is determined. She cannot be argued with. She's like a member of the Borg: resistance is futile. Thank god she hasn't got a penis, or she'd probably have been shagging me on the pub table - "You DO want to get pregnant!!"

"Ever since you used to say that if you ever had to name a girl, you'd call her Violet, because it's only a consonant away from violent and you thought it was only fair to give people warning."

I laughed, delighted that she remembers one of my favourite lines from my 'conversations to make people leave you alone when they start hassling you about not wanting kids.'

"But you will have a child, Sare," Shon's sincere expression stopped my heart across the table, "It will be a girl and she'll have red hair and you'll be brilliant."

I smile at Shon. Inside, this conversation is starting an emotional and psychological earthquake that I push to the back of my mind until I have time to feel the tremble. What is my aversion to having kids anyway? Is it linked to the Chief's assertion that my desire not to get married is a way of shirking adult responsibility? Am I a Petra Pan cliche who's afraid of growing up and falling into the trappings of middle class family life (yeah, maybe because seriously, just writing those words makes me reach for the razors)? Is this a failing?

Frankly, that's a whole other show.

In other news, thanks to the Merry Swankster for this post of Bats for Lashes' What's a Girl To Do - I love this video more than I love whiskers on kittens. Not that I have a particular dislike for whiskers anywhere else. Well, maybe......ok, there's no need for me to really get into this, is there.

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