The phone rang, Jen tutted and abandoned the cake batter she had been mixing to answer it. It was probably a cold caller and she should just let the answer machine get it but she had finally got month old baby Louis down for his afternoon nap and didn’t want anything disturbing him.
‘Hello?’ Jen said into the phone.
‘Hi, it’s only me,’ her husband, Mike spoke, ‘I tried your mobile. I thought you might be a sleep.’
‘No,’ Jen replied with a sign, ‘I was in the kitchen.’
‘Okay. I just wanted to let you know I’m not sure what time I’ll be home,’ Mike explained, ‘there’s been a full office computer crash. Some idiot downloaded a virus yesterday and it’s super bad. I’m not letting anyone from the IT department leave till we’ve fixed it.’
‘I see,’ Jen uttered.
‘I’ll get something to eat on the way home. Don’t wait up for me, you still need to rest as much as possible.’
‘How is Louis?’ Mike asked.
‘Good. He’s sleeping now and he drink a full bottle before.’
‘Super! I got to go. Got the big boss at my throat. See you later, Honey.’
‘Bye,’ Jen said as the ring tone beeped in her ear.
She hung the phone up then stared at it. Why did things like that had to happened? Jen hugged herself and tried not to let the silence of the house get to her. Feeling a slight chill, she moved back into the warmth of the kitchen.
There in the bright lights, surround by cooking equipment and ingredients she could pretend that everything was normal again. Busying herself with finishing off mixing the cake batter, she was just about to divided it into the paper cupcake cases with a baby’s cry came from the living room.
Jen paused and tried not to rush off. Hoping, he would stop and settle again, She began scooping batter into the cases. She made it to four then give in and went into the living room.
‘I’m coming, Louis,’ she called.
Jen stood over pram then picked Louis up. She mumbled things to him and snuggled him. Then realised he needed changing and went and did that. Wrapping him up again, she tried to get him back to sleep but he seemed too awake. Placing him into the pram again, she wheeled him into the kitchen and parked him up.
Finishing dividing the cake mix, she placed the tray into the oven and set the timer. Washing her hands, she tidied everything up then wondered what to do next. On the counter was a pack of spaghetti and a jar of bolognese sauce, this evening dinner.
‘We won’t be needing this now,’ Jen said aloud and put them away, ‘I’ll have some soup instead and you can have some more milk.’
Louis made a moaning sound and Jen checked on him. He had taken both scratch mitts off again.
‘How do you do that?’ Jen wondered.
She put the mitts back on and wheeled him back into the living room. There, she put the TV back and set the channel to one with afternoon game shows as had became her habit. Picking up Louis, she sat cuddling him on the sofa. He dozed on and off then wanted feeding again.
The timer went off whilst she was feeding him and Jen, who hadn’t mastered juggling a baby and other things yet, had to place him down and go to get the cakes out. Louis started crying and her repeatedly tell him she was coming right back had no effect. Cakes out and left to cool, she washed her hands and hurried back to breast feeding him.
Settled again, Jen felt waves of tiredness drifting over her. Louis was a heavy, hot, soft bundle in her arms. The house was warmer now as the heating had come on. Rain was tapping against the windows and even though it was almost four o’clock, night had rolled in.
Realising, she should close the curtains, Jen got up careful and placed Louis in his pram again. She went over to the window and looked out. The street lamps were on and there were cars and people outside. A front door across the road was open, light pooling out and two people were stood in the glow.
A stab of loneliness hit Jen. Her hands slipped from the curtains. She had been ill throughout the whole of her pregnancy and had to have time off work sick then take early maternity leave. Luckily, she and Louis had got through the birth fine, but Jen was recovering and hadn’t left the house much in the last ten months now.
Family and friends had been regularly visitors throughout those months and Jen was grateful for those mornings and afternoons spent with in their company but the mid-week period was the worse time. It was just her and Louis for eight or nine hours whilst Mike was a work and everyone else was too busy.
Jen closed the curtains and tried to get rid of the dreadful feeling filling her up. She checked on Louis who was fast asleep then went into the kitchen. She ate one of the just cooled cakes and made herself a cup of tea.
To help focus herself, Jen thought about plans for the next few weeks. After her last hospital check up, she would started to go out more. She had seen a mums and babies play group advertised at a local church on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. There was also baby swimming on Monday and Friday mornings at the sport centre. On Wednesdays there was the lunch club at her work that she could take Louis too as well.
‘See? You are going to be fine,’ Jen said aloud, ‘just get better.’
Grabbing another cake and her cup of tea, Jen went back to the sofa. Adverts were flashing on the TV and Jen got ready to watch the next quiz show, feeling that little bit better.