20 comments

Friendship Creative Nonfiction Funny

I remember the first time I met Helen. There were eight boys, eight girls, eight bumps of all shapes and sizes sat in a stuffy room at the back of the Mercure Hotel just outside Tunbridge Wells. Kieron and I were the next unknowing victims. On entering the room which was a sea of mauve and serious interior design fail, our antenatal group leader, Miranda, looked up nervously and greeted us with ‘Hi’ but it was clear she couldn’t get a word in. A very ‘horsey’ girl, you know the type, all the stable talk but no stirrups, was making it clear that she knew everything there was to know about babies. She knew exactly how her labour was going to go as she had a ‘radiologist’ in the family. She said with some assurance ‘I am probably going to have to stay very close to the hospital in the next eight weeks as my little girl is bound to come early. I was early, my brother was early. Everyone in the Kensington- Brock family has been early. My mum said it’s because we’re hard workers. We haven’t got time to stay in utero. We gotta get on.’

 

Love it, thought Rebecca. It was the last line that really made it for her. Was her name really Kensington- Brock or did she make it up for this course? Also was she putting on airs with that accent? I’m sure I heard a slight bumpkin twang at the end. This’ll keep us amused for the next six sessions.

 

As the ninety minutes continued with details of the gruesome bits, Little Miss know it all kept interjecting with her pearls of wisdom and Rebecca and Helen looked across at each other and smirked. 

 

I’m glad I’m not the only one that’s finding this hilarious. I’m really not sure who is leading this course and if I’ve listened to anything. 

 

Miranda turned to the group and said ‘Right mummy’s and daddy’s, I thought we could do an exercise. Was that a groan from somewhere? I’ve got some cards here with the stages of labour and in two groups I’d like you to work together to put them in order. 

 

Kieron and Rebecca were in a group with Helen and her husband Rob or as Kieron fondly named ‘beaker’ after the session as he had very protruding eyes and the slight appearance of a boffin. 

 

‘Hi’

 

‘Hi, nice to meet you.’ 

 

‘Where do you guys live?’ asked Helen. 

 

‘We’re in a little village called Ticehurst, about ten miles from here. What about you?’

 

‘Well, we’re moving this week from London to Wadhurst so we’ll be just down the road from you. I don’t know what we were thinking moving while I can barely move.’

 

‘Oh, I’m sure you’ll be fine. It’ll be worth it in the end. Well let me know if you need anything.’

 

Another couple in their group were quite quiet and the husband smelt a bit boozy.

 

‘Hi, we’re Alicia and Duncan. Pleased to meet you.’

 

‘You too’ 

 

Duncan pulled a small black notepad out of his jacket and starting jotting down some notes. ‘Do you know if we can ask someone to fetch us drinks, snacks during labour?’

 

‘I don’t think they provide that level of service.’ Rebecca replied. 

 

‘Right. Going to be a long one then.’ Duncan turned to Alicia who gave him a rather pitiful look.

 

During the next few weeks, the couples turned up and were shown how to breastfeed, what to expect when the baby arrives and how to get into a routine. They all swapped numbers and Little Miss efficient, Pippy gobby- stockings as Helen and Rebecca secretly named her, set up a WhatsApp group.

 

About a week before Rebecca was due to pop, she had a text from Helen suggesting a coffee and cake at a nice little deli halfway between them both. 

 

Rebecca squeezed her humongous self behind the wheel and was so pleased to see Helen’s smiley face. She had such a calm aura compared to the rest of the antenatal group. 

 

‘So how did you meet Rob?’

 

‘At work. I was temping in his office, and we struck it off. It all happened very quickly. We got married after a year and then on my honeymoon discovered I was pregnant. I was a little bit disappointed as we were staying in a gorgeous vineyard in Tuscany and the thought of booze made me feel horrendous. What about you?’

 

‘We met in Bath, years ago. We were out with different friends and ended up in the same pub. Kieron said he saw me across a crowded room, but he couldn’t work out how to approach as I was with lots of rowers. He then saw me again later that night in a nightclub. He came right up to me, shook my hand, and offered to buy me a Smirnoff ice. Ha! That was about fifteen years ago.’

 

They then spoke about so many things and realized they had so much in common, from exercise: running and yoga being two firm favourites, reading lots of fiction, writing, Rebecca discovered Helen had published a collection of poetry.

 

‘Wow that’s so impressive. You’ll have to send me some.’

 

‘You’ll have to have a go at writing. You’ve read so much.’ 

 

They then talked about TV shows with US dramas being a firm favourite for them both. 

 

‘Wow. I can’t remember anything about those antenatal classes, but I do remember what Miranda said about trying to carve out some time each day for us even if only for ten minutes to breathe. I thought we could check in with each other when the bubbas arrive maybe weekly to see how we’re doing?’

 

‘That sounds great! We’ve got this. It’s what our bodies are built for.’

 

‘Gosh you’re so positive.’

 

‘Ha! I won’t be saying that when bubba arrives.’

 

As they left each other, Rebecca felt so happy that she’d really found a friend with so much in common. With a lot of their group, she felt the only thing they had in common was that they were having their first babies. She also found some of the husbands in the group completely wet which really irritates her especially with all the hormones flying around. 

 

Rebecca was taken in for a ‘sweep’ to get things going and immediately messaged Helen about it.

 

‘It wasn’t too bad if you have one. It didn’t seem to work though so I’m going to have to go into hospital to get started tomorrow.’

 

‘Wow good luck. It’s because he’s so cozy.’ 

 

‘Ha! He probably doesn’t want to meet his crazy parents.’

 

‘That too.’

 

Once in hospital, things progressed quite slowly and after a bit of intervention at the end with forceps their gorgeous big boy came into the world. 

 

After two days in hospital, Rebecca, Kieron, and baby George headed home. 

 

When settled at home in the spare room with baby, Rebecca sent Helen a message as she knew she was due imminently but didn’t hear. She’s probably busy pushing baby out at this moment.

 

A few days passed and Rebecca didn’t hear. I do hope all is ok. The group WhatsApp had been very busy with pictures, gruesome details about births and then a little picture popped up.

 

Baby Rex born at home, delivered by daddy.

 

Rebeca then received a separate message saying ‘mmmm, yes wasn’t expecting that. I’ve told Rob to watch some porn to get over the shock of it all.’

 

‘Oh, my goodness you’re both warriors. Listen don’t worry about messaging. We can catch up when you’re ready.’

 

However, the next few weeks were a complete blur of sleep deprivation, feeding and nappy changing but it was made more enjoyable by the daily messages from Helen. ‘How are you today? Can we send them back? lol!’

 

Rebecca felt that Helen brought out her inner calm and she enjoyed providing reassurance to her when she was constantly worried that Rex had something wrong with him.’

 

After four weeks of parenthood, Helen suggested an outing. 

 

‘Shall I come to you, and we can walk around the reservoir?’ 

 

‘Perfect. See you when I see you.’

 

They both realized committing to a specific time was pointless.

 

Helen looked as fresh as a daisy when she appeared at the door, baby snug in his Bjorn.

 

‘He is gorgeous. Well done you and well-done daddy for delivering him safely. You’ll have to tell me all about it.’

 

With both babies bundled up and drifting off for a sleep, the proud mums heading to the center of the village to grab a takeaway coffee and brownie ready for their stomp around the reservoir.

 

This became the one thing they both looked forward to each week because it wasn’t just about the babies. They walked and talked, and it was just like therapy, talking about everything, past relationships, their current relationships including intimacy.

 

‘I’ve said to Kieron on countless occasions. I’m just not up for it. He should find a younger model. I feel revolting, sleep deprived and have these huge jugs full of milk.’

 

‘I know, we did give it a go and it’s pretty good once you get back into it.’

 

‘Fine. I’ll give it a go.’

 

Helen ranted about Rob and his inability to get on with anyone he worked with.

 

‘Do you think it’s because he’s hired to then reevaluate all the finances and sack people?’ 

 

‘I don’t know. I just worry as he’s so cavalier when it comes to work. He seems to always fall out with his boss and most jobs last six months to a year. I just worry as we’ve got such a large mortgage.’

 

‘Yes, that is worrying. Maybe he could take on something permanent for a while? Rather than contracting?’

 

‘Anyway, enough of that, what are you watching at the moment?’

 

‘I’m rewatching Gilmore girls. I love it. I love Rory and how academic she is. I just love everything about it. What about you?’

 

‘Band of brothers. There is something so reassuring about watching a war zone when you have a screaming pooping baby. It puts it all in perspective.’

 

‘Ha. You’re so funny. Have you written anything recently?’

 

‘I’ve been jotting things down but nothing substantial. My brain feels fried’

 

The weeks and months flew and as their friendship moved on, they started going out for meals leaving ‘the boys’ at home with the babies.

 

One evening they met at a local pub, and both agreed to have one small glass of wine so they could drive. 

 

‘I’ve got something to tell you Reb.’

 

‘Ooh go ahead. I do too.’

 

‘Ooh now I’m excited. I was going to ask if you would (cough) have a baby with me?’

 

Reb spat out some of her wine. ‘What on earth?’ Starting to laugh.

 

Rob and I were talking about trying for a second and I said I didn’t think I could do it without you and maybe you could have another one at the same time? I’m mad, aren’t I?’

 

‘You are hilarious. You are so sweet but no feckin way. My breeding days are over.’

 

‘Oh no but you produce such beautiful babies.’

 

‘Aah thank you, you too. My news is that the company I worked for about seven years ago has offered me a part- time work from home job which will be a breeze and I’ve said yes.’

 

‘Congratulations! That’s amazing.’

 

‘Well, we’ll see how it goes. As much as I love George, I feel I do need something else but it doesn’t mean we stop our catch ups and walks and pub visits.’

 

Helen started to tear up, ‘Are you sure? You’re going to meet someone at work and they’ll be your new best friend.’

 

‘Oh you silly sausage, don’t worry about that. I won’t love anyone as much as I love my friend Helen.’

 

With that they both had a sob and clinked their glasses. 

December 04, 2023 20:02

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

20 comments

E. B. Bullet
16:13 Dec 09, 2023

Oh hey, YOUR name is Rebecca! Is there some of you in this story? Maybe that's why it feels so personable LOL. I think the conversational flow between Helen and Rebecca is captivating. Witty, back and forth, and just endearing to read. What can I say, I love moms who are doing their best~ I do wonder why you used single quotations instead of double throughout the whole thing ? Is there a specific feeling to that? ALSO, the sudden shift from first person to second was kind of jarring haha. I think that might have tanked the flow a bit becau...

Reply

Rebecca Detti
20:03 Dec 11, 2023

Hey there E.B. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and like my story. It's really appreciated. Absolutely there is a lot of me in this story :-) I wanted to really highlight how much I appreciated friendship and kindness when entering quite a daunting chapter of my life. It was certainly made more enjoyable by my dear friends. Thanks so much for the constructive comments about quotes. I think I was just adopting more of a British style with the quotes. thank you for the comment about the shift in voices, it felt like a natural sh...

Reply

E. B. Bullet
20:35 Dec 11, 2023

Oh! I didn't even know British style was a thing!! It definitely gave the story a certain feel. I vibe with it ~

Reply

Rebecca Detti
14:55 Dec 15, 2023

Thanks so much E.B!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Karen McDermott
11:15 Dec 09, 2023

"I’ve told Rob to watch some porn to get over the shock of it all" 😂 Great humour and tackling of the prompt.

Reply

Rebecca Detti
14:08 Dec 09, 2023

Thank you so much Karen for taking the time to read. I’m so pleased you enjoyed and thank you for your kind words. 😊

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Mary Bendickson
02:09 Dec 06, 2023

Hit the prompt well. Some names needed to be capitalized. Nice friendship.

Reply

Rebecca Detti
07:27 Dec 06, 2023

Thanks so much Mary! Need to go through and tweak but thank you for the pointers!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
David McCahan
09:10 Dec 05, 2023

Brilliant take on the prompt. The growing relationship between Helen and Rebecca is developed so nicely. Effortlessly. And the humor is wonderful. ‘I don’t think they have that level of service.’ I truly laughed aloud.

Reply

Rebecca Detti
20:06 Dec 05, 2023

Thank you so much for your kind comment David. I’m so pleased you enjoyed and so glad that I captured the easy nature of getting to know my friend. Having a child and coming out the other side definitely felt like an extended period of hibernation. Look forward to reading your stories.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Stella Aurelius
11:08 Dec 26, 2023

I was smiling whilst reading this. Helen and Rebecca's friendship is just really adorable.

Reply

Rebecca Detti
10:48 Jan 01, 2024

Thank you so much Stella for taking the time to read and comment, much appreciated! Glad you enjoyed!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
A.B. Writer
05:11 Dec 14, 2023

This is amazing. Loved how the friendship started with therapy sessions for about-to-be parents, and ended with Rebecca and Helen being just amazing friends. I am definetly going to read more, and I hope that you read some of mine!

Reply

Rebecca Detti
15:41 Dec 14, 2023

Thanks so much A.B! Look forward to reading your stories

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Rachel Kroninger
01:57 Dec 14, 2023

I found myself really enjoying the dialog, and how the majority of the story was written in it. It was comical and interesting to get a feel for the friendship. A wonderful and creative take on the prompt :)!

Reply

Rebecca Detti
15:44 Dec 14, 2023

Thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment Rachel and I really look forward to reading your stories!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
J. D. Lair
15:49 Dec 11, 2023

A very relatable story with a great sense of humor. :) my wife had some friend have babies around the same time as us, so it's been great for her to have those moments away with them either with the kids or without. Having people around you who understand is a luxury. I wish men were more prone to the same, though we don't go through the same trauma y'all do to get there. 😅

Reply

Rebecca Detti
19:51 Dec 11, 2023

Thank you so much J.D for taking the time to read and send such kind feedback. I know, I feel very lucky to have formed such supportive relationships while entering parenthood. I think men and women could all do with some support going through such a dramatic change! thanks again for reading and look forward to reading your stories! :-)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Helen A Smith
15:46 Dec 11, 2023

The friendship between the two women is captivating and I get the feeling they will pull each other through life’s richest and sometimes most difficult experiences. Friends working together makes the world go round.

Reply

Rebecca Detti
19:54 Dec 11, 2023

Thanks so much Helen for reading and taking the time to send such kind feedback. I was lucky to form a very close bond with a couple of ladies when I was expecting my first and I feel as if we coached each other through so many aspects of parenthood and life! look forward to reading your stories. thanks again Helen

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply