Sixteen Years Ago

Sixteen years ago, I woke up in pain. Well, I didn’t exactly wake up. I hadn’t exactly slept. But the pain part was accurate.

This morning, I woke up with a flashlight being shone in my face. Was it an interrogation? No, it was just Jack looking for a rogue mosquito. He managed to catch almost every one last night before bed. One sneaky mozzie still lived. I leaned over and tried to go back to sleep. Hmm. Ok, maybe not.

Yesterday, Lu and I did our final coral work with Bonnie. Lu and Bonnie out-planted another thicket and I cleaned a tree. B3. We attached the tag Bonnie had made for us on one of the thickets at the end of our dive. The Ormerod family, The bungalow, UK. That’s us.

Sixteen years ago, I’d spent the day bloated and uncomfortable. I’d watched movies all day, including Shrek 2 which I saw for the first but definitely not the last time. In fact, Lulu loves Shrek 2 now. The best of all the Shrek movies. Just sayin’.

After our coral work, Lu and I waited for Bonnie to fill dive tanks before she gave us a lift home – just round the corner into the marina. While we were waiting, Lu told me the last time she’d had a good birthday was two years ago, when we were last home. I tried not to feel disappointed for the upcoming one. This was teenage yearning, I reasoned to myself. When no birthday is a good birthday unless you’re spending it with a gaggle of friends.

Hold on was what I was thinking when my water broke – after Shrek 2. I’d called my brother to wish him a happy birthday. He was off to a concert in New York, excited another birthday was on the way. Then I sat back and waited. After making sure I wasn’t going to actually explode, Jack went to sleep for most of that night. I know because I listened to him snore. He always snores when he’s nervous.

Yesterday, Jack and I sat in the rental truck on the way to the supermarket to pick up a quick dinner. We were giving each other a pep-talk.

‘Let her be grumpy. Don’t take it personally. We haven’t brought her up badly.’ That sort of chat. And imagine yourself without the traits you don’t like. What do you see? Definitely not me worrying about Lu. Hehe. It feels like pressing the re-set button on yourself.

After dinner, Lu turned to us. She said, ‘I think I want to have my birthday tomorrow without even thinking it is my birthday.’

We were in the middle of watching Pitch Perfect. She and Delph were on the sofa, and I was washing up behind them. Another great movie.

I said, ‘Good idea. I won’t even mention it. No birthday here – at all.’

Lu smiled too. I swear, I watched her shoulders fall.

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