Today is November 11th and it's Remembrance Day, but for our family it's not about soldiers but about our second son, Robin. Isa, our precious son who died in an accident at Lakomai Resort, Fiji, eleven years ago.
The parrot mango was unexpectedly tart, not yet ripe, but I sliced into it anyway, the rhythmic gut pain started and I did not know - was it the parrot mango or the onset of the hard task ahead? I was waiting near Ba hospital at the Indian minister’s house and I was already two day’s overdue. It was early summer, already 30 degrees with 80 per cent humidity, the crimson tulip trees in blossom. I would bide my time though, my first son had taken all of ten hours. I packed my bag and threw in a James Bond novel Diamonds are Forever, for good measure. Sushma had cooked roti and a hot curry and dhal bhat for tea and I joined their family, just slowly breathing at ever well-spaced contraction, still well apart but I knew what I was in for this time…
‘We’re going to John and Bev’s for supper tonight, like to come?’
‘Sure,’ I knew I would be in good company, two nurses, two doctors, both of them Australian, a clergyman - Fiji Indian. I didn’t tell them my condition though until about 9.30 p.m. when I said to Bev, ‘I’d better get moving Bev. I’m going along really well now.’
She checked me in the bedroom and I clenched my jaw.
‘Lord Wendy! You’d better get moving now.’
It was moonlight and frangipani and I waddled over to the wooden bungalows of the Mission hospital, breathing deeply. There was little time for much more than a brief prep, knees up. James Bond got pulled out for not more than ten minute and Robin Iliesa Tupou was born, a gorgeous big baby. John was the doctor on duty with a Fijian nurse who was very encouraging. 11 p.m. on the 11th month 11th day. It was Remembrance Day, I realized, a holiday back home in Australia.
Where was my husband? Only fifteen miles away in Rakiraki. John the doctor said he’d better phone him.
‘I suppose so,’ I said. I’d forgotten him. After all this was women’s business.