Effe stands in her bathroom.
She is naked, and she stands halfway in front of the huge mirror.
Her stomach is incredibly flat, save for a little bulge under her navel.
She runs her hands gently over her tummy, and then she looks at the seat of the water closet where about ten pregnancy test kits are lying.
She has used them all, and all of them are showing two solid maroon lines…
She remembers the ten years she was married. Test after test, month after month, whenever her flow delayed, and always the same result …one solid strip;
She had convinced herself she was incapable of conceiving
All of them shows POSITIVE!
She giggles, and her heart sings with joy.
Oh, Chris! My love! My man! Where are you? Come and rub my belly. You’re going to be a father. I am going to be a MOTHER! A mother, Chris, a MOTHER! Where are you, my love? I’m not giving birth outside marriage, Darling Boy, precious taxi driver! Come and marry me!
She stays like that for a long time, looking at her belly and at the ten PTKs on the WC cover.
Finally, she takes a long, slow bath.
When she gets out she puts on a white bathing robe, belts it, and sweeps all the kits into a little pouch.
She giggles when she looks down at them, and shakes her head in wonder.
When she enters her room, she finds her mother standing by the window, her back to Effe.
Effe stops and looks at the sloping shoulders of her mother, and the grey hair on her head.
Ivy Kedem turns slowly, and Effe gasps at how haggard her mother’s face is.
It is the face of someone who is suffering emotionally.
There are deep lines on her mother’s face, as if she had not had a good sleep.
Effe looks at her warily.
You have not come to hurt me more, have you?
Ivy Kedem shakes her head, and films of tears dance in the depths of her eyes.
She walks forward slowly and stops in front of Effe.
Look at me, Effe. I’m a bad woman! I’m a disgraceful wife! And I am the vilest mother that ever lived!
Tears come to Effe’s eyes immediately, and her compassion for her mother rises to the fore.
She shakes her head numbly.
Please, don’t say that.
But I am! What kind of mother feels jealous over her own daughter’s pregnancy? Tell me, tell me, Effe!
Effe licks her lips and looks extremely sad.
You are still obsessed with him, aren’t you?
Oh, this is bad, so ugly! Effe, I don’t know whether it is because he spurned me, or because I can’t forget the way he was in my bed! For ten years you were laughed at, ridiculed, and now it turns out you’re not barren after all! Chris has made you pregnant, and all I feel is pain! Oh, what madness! But I’m human, my dear. Your father will die if he finds out I’m having these evil feelings! But I’m not going to let this destroy the love I have for you, dear! You’re right, I’ve treated Chris badly! I destroyed his childhood, and I did a lot of harm to him. He told me just how much he loves you, Effe! And how he’s never going to get over you, and yet he decided to stay away because he found out he had sex with me, and the knowledge made him feel unworthy of your love.
Effe touches her trembling lips with her trembling fingertips, and tears roll down her cheeks.
I love him, Mama. I need him so much.
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(wiping her own tears away savagely)
I’m going to be your mother, Effe. First, I apologise to you for all the harm I’ve done you. Secondly, I’m not going to let this thing eat at me. I’m going to push my evil feelings for that damn boy aside. I’m going to love you, and my grandchild you’re carrying! I’m going to be the best wife to your Dad, and the best mother to you and Eyram. I’m going to be the best grandma, and I’m going to be a good mother-in-law to your husband. And I’m going to help you find that boy again.
Effe nods wordlessly, overcome by emotions. Madam Ivy suddenly falls to her knees in front of her daughter, grabs Effe’s feet, and begins to beg to be forgiven.
No, Mama! Don’t do that, please!
She drops to her knees and holds her mother’s arms. Madam Ivy, such a strong woman, is crying bitterly now.
It’s just lust, Effe! I see that boy and my whole being is corrupted! Please forgive me, okay? Everything is going to be alright. That sickness is gone! It’s all behind me. Please, let us begin on a fresh page, my love. And forgive your poor mother for all the pains I’ve caused you!
Of course, of course, Mama! I forgive you!
And on the floor, mother and daughter hold each other and shed tears that washes the bad blood between them.
There are tears that freshens the water, tears that washes out the bad, and makes their bond stronger.
And much later, the door opens, and Eyram comes in with Ken Kedem, and they see mother and daughter holding each other on the floor, and they smile at each other. Suddenly Effe feels nauseous, and as she gets up to go to the bathroom to retch, the small pouch falls down, and all the pregnancy test kits fall out, all of them showing positive. Her family stare at them, first with curiosity, and then with real amazement, and then they all begin to laugh as Effe throws up with real pleasure in the bathroom. Madam Ivy looks at her family members, at how happy they are, and she sighs miserably. She had not been able to tell Effe that she made Chris think Effe has gone back to Steve, and is staying with Steve.
She knows that will hurt Effe beyond reason, and she might not forgive her for that.
(softly to herself)
Oh, Effe, my dearest, please forgive me! I’m so sorry!
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