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Saying Stupid Things
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Sometimes I say such stupid things.

Shock and anger and self pity, and something else as well, that I can't quite identify... something about needing the world to know we are different now; it forces stupid things to come out of my mouth before I realise what I'm saying.

Opening trap before putting brain into gear; I believe that's what my Dad would call it.

A very good friend of mine does the me the huge favor of coming to swimming lessons with me and my children every few weeks. Four hands make life easier than too, and he often gets in the pool with my daughter, allowing me to stay dry and warm on the side.

The Chop's swimming teacher, new and not versed in our situation, makes the innocuous remark to my son that "You can go to Daddy in a minute, when you're done."

My son looks at me, wide blue eyes uncertain and unsure, an almost-four-year-old who copes with the permanence of death as best he can.

It's a primal thing, I think. The mama bear instinct. The same one that made me run, rather than stay. Protect your children. No question.

It's that mother in me, the primal one, who jumps forward and directs the new swim teacher with a stare that could have frozen the entire pool.

"His father has passed away."

She murmurs an apology, blushes... my sin's lesson is over in a moment anyway. As I warm his skin under a hot shower in the change room, I begin to feel stupid and embarrassed- that's not an unrealistic assumption to make, that the male friend with us was my children's father. I feel the sting of my own rudeness, and wish I'd explained the situation better.

Sometimes, is say stupid things.

Let's just blame the shock of it, still, almost eight months later.

Sometimes, to my own bemusement, I manage to keep it in.

My new mechanic has kind eyes. He's obviously a father himself, I can tell by the way he's looking at my daughter.

"I'll bet your daddy loves you," he says to the Bump. "Think he'll have to get a stick to beat the boys off!"

The Australian vernacular and proud tone in his voice stings at my edges like acid. I smile wanly, and say,

"Something like that."

I don't have to scare everyone, all the time.

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