Take 3

Jane and Keith Ford had planned their trip to Norway 3 times. Trip 1 had been cancelled when Jane’s mum Mary had fallen and knocked her head on a coffee table. Mary had said she was fine but two days later had died in her sleep of a blood clot. Jane's father had woken early and seeing her lying peacefully in bed had made eggs and salmon and two cups of tea. The food would never be eaten. The tea stayed on the counter for 2 days until Keith found them and tipped them down the sink before gripping the counter tightly for support. Jane cried for 2 weeks.

Trip 2 was planned for 3 months later. It was a much needed break. Keith had struggled as Jane sank deeper into herself. Where conversation had always flowed between them it was now drip fed, monosyllabic responses to questions. He remembered the constant chatter of their early years, late nights and pointless car rides just to talk. Now he wondered all the time if he had missed something. It couldn’t just be her mum. “I’m fine Keith, just tired.”

“You’re not fine though, anyone can see that.”

“Don’t tell me what I am and am not. You don’t know what I am. You think you do. So if I say I’m fine. I am.”

Variations on the theme were repeated every few days, in between bouts of ‘normal’.

With two weeks to go, Jane had walked into the kitchen whilst he cooked and told him she was 8 weeks pregnant. She was sorry she hadn’t told him earlier but she wasn’t sure if she wanted it. It had been a shock and she didn’t know how deal with it. She knew how much he wanted to go on this trip but she just couldn’t face it. She spoke quietly and directly to his back then left. Keith kept washing up. It was his birthday.

Once the morning sickness is gone it will get easier.

Things will get better when the baby is born.

She will sleep through the night soon that will make a difference.

There was always another step.

Keith watched Jane watch baby Mary. The way she switched between constant holding her tight to her chest to her not seeming to even hear her cry. He didn’t know what to do. How to help.

They looked out at the Fjords glistening. The quiet putter of the engine as they glided through the silver sea. Jane held Mary gently rocking slightly to match the rhythm of the boat. Trip 3 was 6 months later; unexpectedly one morning Jane had said to him, i'm ready to go now. So they did.

Keith knew then things were changing. He could feel it in the warmth of her voice. In the way she google places to go. In the way she laughed with her daughter. And now he could feel it in the setting sun. In the way the snow and the trees seem to sparkle. Jane turned to him and looked at him. It felt like the first time time she had truly looked at him in over a year.

She smiled and said simply. “Thank you.”