Breathe Deeply Dear
by Glynis Smy
Our second turn around the roundabout was a pleasure trip for my husband. Grinning like the proverbial Cheshire cat, he drove us around and around. I sat. It was the road to purgatory for me. I gripped my seat. My fingers ached as I embedded them into the material. Maybe the pain I felt inside would be referred to my fingers. Fear of what could lie ahead stopped me from screaming out obscenities at the top of my voice.
"Ah, smell that; the nectar of the gods." He inhaled deeply, filling his lungs to full capacity. In, out, in, out, like a man deprived of oxygen. "Imagine living here, smelling that on a daily basis. Some people are so lucky. Look at the architecture of that place. Hundreds of years people have woken up to the smell."
He wound down the car window and continued his adoring diatribe to the building ahead. Oblivious to the silence of his passenger, he pressed the button of the remaining three windows. My fingers could not rebel and reverse their passage. The wind whipped around and through my hair. Tendrils stuck to the beads of sweat upon my brow. Drawing closer to the large buildings, the smell permeated the inside of our vehicle. I sent up a silent prayer that we would break down.
"Thirty years and nothing has changed." In, out, In, out. The further we drove along the tree lined avenue, the warmth of the sun intensified the odour. I gagged.
"This is beautiful. Oh look the barrels are still there. Mm, lovely. It brings back memories, doesn't it?" He swung a quick glance my way, then back to admire the scene before him. I can only assume he considers my nonverbal response as a yes. Yes dear, the gut churning stench is beautiful. Now please close the windows. The words are in my head, but if I open my mouth to release them, they will not be the only thing released.
Had he not noticed the green shade around my lips, or the pallor of my normally ruby cheeks?
The aroma of fermenting, burning of hops from chimneys of a beer brewery, do not grant me the joy he finds in their perfume. To me it is nothing more than a musty stench. All it triggers is the memory of morning sickness and worrying ultrasound scan visits.
The smell of an English countryside brewery near the hospital, a plastic bowl and a bottle of water were my companions. Can he not remember those days? The days that were hell on earth for me.
Days when I was so weak from vomiting because hops burning turned my stomach. Can the idiot at the wheel not remember having to stop at every lay-by and attend to me? What happened to the loving, adoring father to be? Who has replaced him with a roundabout whizzing, inhaling middle aged man?
The first three months of my three pregnancies were indeed memorable.