Work in progress by Ivan Morgan
My daughter was born thirty-three years ago at 8:45 a.m., by C-section. In my father’s time men sat in a hotel room with their buddies smoking cigars and drinking Scotch ‘til they got “the phone call.” In my time we men were in the birthing room. My father thought me mad – such is the gap between generations.
In any case, a healthy baby girl was born, and we were ushered out of the operating room so the next couple could have their miracle. As we were wheeled out there was a very pregnant young woman lying on a gurney crying, who just kept saying “Steve, Steve, Steve.” Sitting next to her was a young man, his entire face covered in a surgical mask (as was mine until recently) violently shaking his head and saying, “No way, no way, no way.”
He was panicking. The surgical team was inside waiting, and the nurses were gently telling the couple it was go time.
Flushed with the high of the birth of my child, I hunched down to meet his eyes.
“Dude. I was terrified too, but if you don’t go in, you’ll regret it. It’s an amazing experience. Promise. You have to do it.”
I looked into his eyes, the only part of him I could see. He looked back at me.
I smiled and gently punched his shoulder. “Yeah.”
And off we went to the recovery room.
Fast forward a year or so. My ’79 Honda had died, and I got it towed to Canadian Tire where I was told $245 would get her back on the road. That was a lot of money for us in those days.
We cobbled together the cash. I had enough for the repairs, not enough for a taxi. I was young and worked for ridiculous people (more on that some other time). They would not give me time off to go get my car. I had dropped it off the evening before, given them the keys and got a buddy to drive me home.
The garage called me at work the next day to say the car was ready. So, on a cold, dark rainy October evening I walked from my office to the auto shop. It was about four kilometers. There’s a great Newfoundland word – satched. By the time I got there, that I was. The cash, in a roll in my pocket, was soaked.
I got there and sat, with others, as we waited our turn at the counter. My wife had fed the kids and my supper was waiting, as were a few cold beers. Get home, warm up in a hot shower, eat in front of the TV. That was my plan.
My name was called, and a young man came out with my bill.
“We had to blah blah blah.” He was wasting his breath. I wouldn’t know whether it was fit to eat (still don’t). I was getting a little tense. It sounded like they’d done a lot. I only had the $245 they’d quoted. He totalled it all up. Then, as I dug the cash out of my pocket, he looked at me with a huge toothy smile and laughed.
You don’t know me, do you?” he laughed.
No. Who the hell are you?
“You’re the fellow who talked me into going into the OR with my woman when she was having our daughter. I had chickened out and you came out with your missus and baby and saw me sitting there and came over and talked me into it. It was the most amazing moment of my life, and I’d a missed it if it weren’t for you. No charge my buddy.”
A little while later I pulled into our driveway, went into the house. My wife was in the kitchen. As I started to take off my soggy clothes, I tossed the wad of cash on the kitchen table in front of her surprised face.
“Have I got a story for you.”
Ivan Morgan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org