I have this friend named Olivia, but I've always called her 'Irish Olivia' (because she is from Ireland), or, more recently, 'Pregnant Olivia' (because she, well, you know why). It is strange that I have never referred to her simply as 'Olivia', but so be it.
Two weeks ago, I asked Pregnant Olivia and three other friends over for lunch. Pregnant Olivia was getting very close to her due date, and looking very... round. She desperately wanted the baby to arrive, but still had close to a week to go. I remember feeling that way when I was pregnant with my daughter, Camille. The endless waiting. The last few weeks of pregnancy were the worst. I really felt for Pregnant Olivia-- wished there was something I could do.
Because I have just one way of dealing with any situation, and that is to cook-- I wanted to make lunch as comforting as possible for Pregnant Olivia. I made a simple pasta that I had been working on for a cooking demonstration I was to do the following weekend. Good, healthy, simple stuff. All the ladies cleaned their plates and asked for the recipe. Even Pregnant Olivia's scrumptious little boy, Harry had seconds.
The next morning, Pregnant Olivia was not at school drop off. One of her neighbors was walking Harry into school.
'Hi! Has Olivia gone...' I asked the stranger.
'Yes! She went in this morning.' She responded.
'Was she okay?' I continued.
'Oh, you know that Olivia-- she was brilliant. But, as she was getting in the car, she was cursing something she ate the day before.'
When used-to-be-pregnant-Olivia's husband came to drop the boys off at school the next morning, he sought me out. He told me about how strong the baby was and that his name was Patrick.
'Olivia was cursing your name though, Jenny.' He said to me.
'The pasta?' I winced.
'Yes. This was a very strong labor. What did you put in that pasta?'
'Beans, kale, a little sausage... wishful thinking.'