A crisp December day found my husband Gord and I buckling our two little girls into car seats. We were on our way to a well-reputed restaurant, a luxury not indulged in often.
I was eight months pregnant and the baby, already determined to be a hefty 10 pounds, fought valiantly for space. It was a constant struggle to find comfort in any position. Fatigue and bloat were my new best friends. Adjusting the seat I finally found a place of relative comfort.
The scenery up North Shore, in British Columbia, was exquisite. Snow capped mountains rose impressively along the ribbon of highway – a majestic view sprawling before us.
Arriving at our destination, I struggled out of the car and waddle-limped into the restaurant, leaving Gord to manage the girls. We were shown to a seat, but Nature was calling and I was desperate for the facilities. The little girls were being settled into seats as I went in search of bathrooms.
While washing my hands, before going back to our table, I noticed a statue situated right by the sinks. It was of a naked man. The thing that caught my attention though, was the strategically placed fig leaf…on a hinge. Now I was pretty sure what was under that leaf, but being the inquisitive type, I had to look.
There were two women finishing at the sink, but curiously showing no interest in the statue. I continued to vigorously wash my hands until they left. Making sure the room was empty, I pressed my extended girth up to the counter and reached over to quickly lift the leaf before anyone else came in. A quick peek would do. I didn’t need to dally.
As I grasped and lifted the leaf, a sudden piercing sound shook the building. A loud ringing, similar to a fire alarm, was going off. Instantly I dropped the leaf. With a paralyzing horror, I knew immediately the leaf was responsible for that noise. Horrors!
What should I do? Everyone in the restaurant would know it was me that had lifted that leaf…and in my obvious condition! How humiliating.
I decided to wait for a diversion and kept washing my hands until someone could come to my rescue. Before long two more ladies came in.
I continued to scrub at the sink until they finished and were ready to leave. They were chatting as they left the room and I covertly slipped in close behind them, doing my best to look like I belonged. In my desperation I tripped over my purse strap that was dangling, narrowly missing a collision with my rescuers, and earned curious glances from both ladies. It was hard to be stealthy in my condition.
To my distress, smirking bus boys and waiters had lined up along the walls to cheer the return of the bell ringer and celebrate the ‘lifting of the leaf’. In spite of my efforts to remain anonymous, their grins told it all. They knew it was me!
Waddling past them, my face burned with embarrassment. They started to clap! Argh!
I hurried to find my family.
Sliding awkwardly into my chair, I turned to Gord and asked, “Did you hear a loud ringing bell out here a few minutes ago?”
“Ya.” he garbled between bites, “It was weird. I wonder what that was all about. And what took you so long?”
With eyes downcast I murmured, “It’s a long story. I’ll fill you in on the way home.”
We continued our meal but with the sheer enjoyment of a dinner out, my embarrassment subsided and the humor began to hit me. Between fits of laughter I eventually choked out the series of unfortunate events.
We have laughed many times over that incident but the disappointment that remains to this day is most tragic.
I still don’t know what was under that leaf.