The new girlfriend fell pregnant when I was forty-four years old.
Christ, there were blokes younger than me who were grandfathers.
I knew dead people younger than me.
Get this, I didn’t panic.
Maybe this would be my salvation.
I felt a low rumble-tumble like a weed through my sub-guts.
A phantom thought pregnancy,
An implicit message lay buried and twinkling in a stranger’s belly.
The thought climbed out of bed and slapped me,
I was going to be a Daddy…
Here was urgency and importance,
Meaning and responsibility,
I felt like a louche Spitfire pilot scrambled whilst making breakfast,
A playboy whose club full of bunnies had burned to the ground,
A de-fibrillated dead beat who suddenly, inexplicably re-animated,
had the chance to re-invent himself as the holder and co-inventor
Of life’s big patent.
As the new girlfriend expanded, my thoughts seemed to shrink.
I was calming down, waiting for the storm, preparing for the exam.
But there was no stopping me now,
I was sliding down the shiny well-traveled rails at speed,
A loco loco about to jump the points.
The birth was difficult. The new GF slithered and wailed
in the robust arms of an overweight natural-birther.
She was in a swimming pool for Christ’s sake.
After an epoch of misery I finally cracked and demanded
a more conventional approach.
Celia was born via Caesar in the sensible section.
Covered in black hair, steaming and screaming in the ominous
green glow of the hospital dreamtime she was the most beautiful thing
I had ever seen.
She still is.
Celia is now fourteen,
and guess what?
She calls me Daddy…
(Or dude, or Hey You.)