I’ve been meaning to expand on the events of a few weekends past, and how quickly the news of my pregnancy spread.
The buzz started at Saturday’s funeral, after I showed up in what I thought was perfectly appropriate funeral garb – black pants and a slightly sheer, loose-fitting blouse. Little did I know that the latter garment would be my undoing. Many of the funeral-goers went to dinner at my aunt Thelma’s (Heather’s mom) for post-service dinner. As per usual, the young people found themselves in one section of the house (the front room overlooking the veranda), while the older generations gathered in the back of the house near the kitchen.
As I settled in to eat, I was approached by my cousin Chris’s wife Darina – a slender woman with a build similar to mine. We’re not close, but I’ve always liked her. I think there may have been some small talk before we addressed the elephant in the room. I don’t even recall if she asked outright, or just hinted at the possibility, but I did admit that I was pregnant.
“I knew it!” she said with a smile. “I saw you at the funeral, and… “
I cut her off. “You noticed at the funeral? Really?”
“Oh, yeah,” she replied. “With that top, and then your belly…It was hard not to miss ’cause you’re so tiny! I asked Heather if you were pregnant and she told me to ask you myself. I mentioned it to Chris – asked him if you were pregnant, but he said he didn’t know. At least, he didn’t think so…”
As she talked, I did the math in my head. Darina to Heather. And to Chris. Chris to Kevin. Kevin to his wife Roxanne. And back again from Roxanne to Kevin’s sister Karla… And that was only the few of them on that side. A short time later, my cousin Lisa joined the conversation, and I knew it was only a matter of time before the whole clan was talking.
I was immediately thankful that I’d made the decision to tell my mother early.
* * *
The next day was the big annual family picnic at Darlington National Park. Before we got out of the car, I warned the boy that the rumour mill was grinding hard. As we ventured onto the grounds in search of my folks, the first person we ran into was my cousin Kevin, who approached us a bit sheepishly, a smile on his face. He wasted no time:
“So, Karla told me that you’re pregnant. Is it true?” he asked.
I sighed. How on earth could Karla tell him I’m pregnant if she hadn’t even been at the funeral to see me? The boy looked at me and nodded as if to say, tell him. So I did. It pretty much continued like that for the rest of the afternoon. With Kevin knowing, it meant that my father’s side was covered in the knowledge department. My mother’s much larger family was a completely different animal, and by the time I ran into my cousins, converged at the far east end of the park grounds, I knew they knew.
As disappointed as I am that I wasn’t the one to tell them myself, I admit to feeling relief that I don’t have to hide from them anymore. No more loose/baggy clothes or making excuses for not smoking or drinking. No more holding in my stomach.
I can finally exhale.