All to myself

All to myself—The Shoemaker's Daughter (A memoir of days by Rhonda Mason)
The Friday before Lewis’ induction date is both hot and sunny.

We drop Angus, Pete, and James off at the tennis court in Narraweena for their last day of tennis camp. Using my phone, I snap a selfie with each of them before giving them a hug and kiss goodbye. We then drop Bear off at Gumnut, and I do the same with him.

Back at home, Rick and I part ways. He works from home while I head out to Chatswood.

Today is my day off. My “one day off” before the arrival of little Lewis. The boys are at tennis camp. Bear is at preschool. And I have the day to myself.

All to myself.

I feel free. Happy. Excited. Relaxed. And ever so intoxicated by the thought of several hours of freedom.

I drive out to Chatswood and park on level two of Chatswood Chase.

My first stop is the sushi train restaurant opposite Nespresso. It is their Happy Hour. Happily, I treat myself to salmon nigiri, unagi nigiri, a prawn tempura basket, and a hot steaming cup of green tea.

Outside, it is hot and humid. I walk (read: waddle) across the road and step inside Siam Escape. My body instantly relaxes in the cool air. I speak briefly with the receptionist and settle on the two-hour deluxe massage.

It begins with a foot massage. I sit back in the chair as the therapist places my feet in warm water. I close my eyes and think of the days and nights ahead. I cannot believe that we will meet Lewis in just four days’ time.

Afterwards, I am taken into a dark cubicle. There is the smell of incense. Quiet, soothing music plays in the background. I disrobe and lie down on my side. My masseuse has given me an extra pillow and I tuck this under my tummy and pull the towel over my body.

I am very relaxed.

My masseuse returns to the cubicle, and the massage begins. Slowly but surely, she weaves magic with her fingers. Slowly but surely, she kneads the tension out of my muscles. I relax under her touch and can’t help but drift off to sleep (only to be woken up—not once, but several times—by the sound of myself snoring).

Two hours pass. Two glorious hours. I slip my black maternity dress back on and ease my feet back into my shoes.

Back at the counter, I thank my masseuse and pay. A man comes in. He sees my bulging tummy and asks if this is my first child. “No, this is my sixth.” He is speechless. I smile and walk out.

I waddle back to Chase and end up at Pattison’s. It is now after three o’clock and I find myself craving something rich and “chocolatey” for afternoon tea. I buy a slab of their chocolate brownie. It is an indulgence, for sure, but I don’t feel guilty about it.

By the time I get home, Rick has already picked up all of the boys. Amidst the chaos, I make two cups of tea and serve up chocolate brownie to all six of us. It. Is. Delicious.

Later in the evening, Pa and Nan arrive to babysit the boys. I retreat upstairs for a hot shower and to get ready for my date with Rick. I shower, wash my hair, apply moisturiser, sweep on my face powder, and slip into my black raw silk dress. I also put on my Delta necklace. Rick also puts on his finery (aka shirt and long pants). At quarter to seven, we find the boys watching television downstairs and kiss them goodbye.

We drive out to Balmoral and check ourselves into the Bather’s Pavilion Restaurant. The maître d’ is very friendly and chats with us for a while. It turns out that he too has five sons; he works six days a week and hardly sees his family.

Rick and I take our time with our food, savouring each mouthful. We make jokes and we laugh. We gaze out at the ocean and we touch hands. We chat about all that has been and all that is to come. We smile and smile some more.

For dessert, Rick chooses cheesecake and I choose a creme brulee. Both are amazing.

I yearn for the night to never end.

Finally, close to ten o’clock, Rick pays the bill and we say goodbye to our new friend, the maître d’. He wishes us all the best.

Outside, we take silly selfies of ourselves under the building’s flood light. We hold hands and make our way slowly back to the car.

Inside the car, we continue to hold hands.

I look over at my husband as he drives us home.

“I love you Rick,” I say.

“I love you too, Ronnie…”

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