Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Dad

Ken's Artisan Bakery. NW 21st Ave. I'm waiting for a friend.

A few feet away a couple have commandeered a table. The  man stands with his back to me. One of his arms is hidden in front of his body. With the other he pulls chairs into a formation of his choosing and pushes a neighboring table closer to the wall. He signals to the woman. She wheels a buggy into the space he has prepared then joins the line that snakes between the counter and the door.

The man turns and sits and I see that in the crook of his arm he is cradling a baby. It is a tiny little thing, still curled around itself. So new to the world it hasn't yet realized that it now has room to stretch and grow.

The man looks down at the baby, pulls off its' miniature hat and kisses the wrinkly bald head beneath. He jogs the baby up and down although it is fast asleep and in no immediate need of comfort. He touches it's cheek with a finger, lifts and rubs its floppy feet.

When the woman returns to the table, she sniffs the air above the baby's bottom and stretches out her arms. The man leans back and twists to the side. I can read his lips. "I'll go" he says and reaches for the stripy cotton bag.

As he passes me I smile.
"How old?" I ask.
"A week". He beams.
"Ah". I say and nod. "Gorgeous".

While New Dad and Baby are gone, the woman's order is called. As she collects mugs from the counter, she is joined by friends; a second couple. They hug Mother, marvel at her impossibly slim post- pregnancy body then look towards the restroom doors waiting for New Dad and Baby to appear.

When New Dad comes back, he is hugged and Baby is admired. A gift bag,  pale yellow and brimming with white tissue paper, changes hands. New Dad talks and smiles. He pushes his glasses further up his nose. Second Man asks him a question. New Dad nods and lifts the baby for another kiss.

 You can tell by the way she flutters her hands and takes the baby's fingers between two of her own that Second Woman is itching to have a hold. But New Dad hangs on tight.

The others drink their drinks and talk at a hundred miles an hour. New Dad gazes down at the bundle in his arms. Once or twice someone addresses a comment to him and New Dad is forced to rise out of his euphoric state and reenter the world. But he soon loses focus and returns his attention to his seven day old marvel.

Eventually someone points out that New Dad hasn't taken even just one sip of his coffee. It is only the need for caffeine combined with the fear of scalding Baby  that can persuade him to hand the infant over. Three pairs of hands are offered up. Second Woman, wins the prize.

 New Dad sits back. Some of the shine has gone from his cheeks and eyes. His shoulders sink and he rubs the back of his neck. Second Woman is oohing and ahhing. Mother looks proud. Second Man is getting bored. He turns to New Dad, but New Dad is staring out of the window. He looks much older without the baby in his arms. With one hand he lifts his heavy rimmed glasses. With the other he rubs his tired eyes.


  1. Love this! Beautifully written - I could see him so clearly. People watching is one of my favorite activities... now I will be able to enjoy your people watching experiences too. Write on!

  2. Rachel,

    Congratulations! I know it's not easy "coming out" in public on a blog like this. I look forward to reading your stories....

    Ann Marie (your fellow "new blogger")

  3. It was Ken's bakery...I didn't notice that. Guess it could be in any described it brilliantly x

  4. could have been there with you, nice one!

  5. Your blog effort is inspiring and writing is brimming with lovely language. Cheers to you!

    Your Final Edit friend, Deborah