Gloria woke me in the night. “My waters have broken,” she said.
“Sit still,” I told her. “I’ll get some fresh sheets and something to clean you up with.”
“You’d better call an ambulance, we may not have much time.”
I patted her hand. “No need. I’ll deal with it.”
“No!” she screamed. “I need an ambulance, right now.”
“There’s no point, they won’t come. I’ll clean you up. You’ll be fine.”
“What about the baby?”
“Our baby is fine. She’s all grown up and has her own baby now. They came to see us last week, remember? You remember that?”
She stared for a moment, as though trying to translate my words into English. “My waters have broken.”
“Your waters break two or three times a week. Maybe more now. Remember? You remember, don’t you? Don’t worry. I’ll get you cleaned up.”
“For God’s sake, call an ambulance, somebody.”
“Gloria, please. Relax. There is no baby.”
She patted her tummy. “Then why am I so big?”
“Same reason as me, I guess. Life does that to you. Listen. I’m fetching a towel and some clean sheets, then I’ll take you into the bathroom to clean up, okay? Don’t I always clean you up? Don’t I?”
She frowned at me. I smiled back.
She said, “There’s something you’re not telling me.”
“I’m telling you that I love you, Gloria, and I don’t ever want you to forget that. Okay?” I grabbed her hand. “Please. Never forget that. ”
Bob Jacobs lives in the south-east of England with his wife and kids and Sony Vaio. In his spare time he likes to lie motionless on his back, whistling and staring at clouds.