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This message sent Thu, 15 Apr 2004 11:26:05 -0200 by:
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I made another effort to derail Jim; I could see him winding up to deliver another kick. I raised my beer. A toast. Family ties. And happy birthday for tomorrow, Jim.We're going out to eat, Cath said, looking straight at me in a warning. I'm starving. I think the baby wants something too.*I held my arms wide. He put his around me, but there was no softness to him. He pushed me away and rubbed his sleeve across his eyes. We stood facing each other. I tried to think of something to say to get him to laugh, imagined his face breaking into one of the gap-toothed smiles that used to dazzle the girls: nothing came.You hear that, Marion? Our Cath's going to have a baby. A woman's highest calling.You don't know the half of it. Seems I've been working there forever and all I got to show for it is a dried-up wife who's never going to make me a father.And you don't think I had ambition? You think I wanted to spend the last ten years cutting up trees for Chrissake? He pulled in another w
heezy breath. Do you hear that Billy? Want to know how a man gets lungs like these? He thumped his chest. Sawdust. Just breathe it in and out, nice and easy. Little by little it collects, squeezes itself tight into the corners. You can see it in the filters around the machines.Hey, Billy, he said. Remember that scene in 'Jaws'? You know, the one where those guys get to comparing their scars?A saw?He pulled out a foil-topped bottle. ' ?Fraid it's not the real thing, Billy. We can't run to 'French Champagne' round here, but don't worry: you'll get used to it.Cor-rect! It?s a big one. Rips through a thirty-foot Spruce log like that. So anyway, one day, I'm working the Jeavons and the blade hits a nail driven into the heartwood. College-educated tree-huggers think they're striking back at big business. Frannie's too mean to replace blade guards, so I get this.I'm not drinking, she said. I'm pregnant.Oh, yes. I was just saying to Cath it's really good to meet her and Bill after a
ll this time. I mean, the phone is all right and we have some pictures, but this is better. I like family.I'll go and ring, I said.