Earlier tonight, while M was having his bath before bedtime, we were discussing Oscar and his cahoots (from Oscar’s Orchestra, the BBC series for children). Oscar is a blue piano who is trying to save the world from an evil dictator who has banned music. M is mildly obsessed with the series and mumbles the dialogues to himself all day long and hums the tunes ranging from 1812 to the William Tell Overture. I think he even dreams of Oscar.
The conversation tonight meandered to pianos and blue pianos, specifically.
Me: Have you seen a blue piano?
M : Of course.
Me : Where?
M : When I was born.
Me: Really? I don’t remember that. Who else was there? Was I there?
M : The whole world was there! You were there too.
Me: Oh. Maybe I forgot.
M: That’s because you were the last person to see me when I was born.
That stopped me in my tracks. Because it is true. And it is a hurt I carried with me for a long time. I was indeed the last person to see him. He was born and they took him away to clean him up without the courtesy of showing him to me. Everybody saw him – his father, his granny, the nurses and the helpers. Minutes, hours later, I was taken to my room where I waited wondering where this child was. Then they brought him to me grinning and asking, joking, if I wanted my son. I was so furious by then, already fuming with my doctor’s refusal to give me an epidural, the pain and humiliation of that perceived betrayal (we had discussed epidurals before and he had agreed, yet he didn’t call the anaesthetist). I kept that hurt in my heart for a long time and have never said anything to M (he’s 4, for God’s sake, why would I say anything to him?).
So why did he say this?
Today’s eerie moment reminded me of a poem that Samantha of Bentlily wrote recently and although M was talking of this life, it was one of those moments that makes you stop and forget to breathe. M does this so often; he comes up names and places that he has certainly never heard of before or talks about things “before I was born” with such certainty that I don’t know whether to laugh or question my sanity.
Just when you think you have forgotten and laid the ghosts to rest, they come back with such a ferocity that the shards come unglued once again.