A Note from the Webmaster: It’s summertime, the glorious season of swimming, sunblock and sinking your teeth into a fat stack of books. Alas, it’s also the sad season when Writers Forum goes dark for two months. Never fear, dear reader, because for the next eight Mondays, Writers Forum will be featuring the Best of Member Monday. The top eight Member Monday pieces were determined by the number of views each piece received on our website. We’ll count them down beginning from #8 and ending with our #1 most viewed piece of the 2013-2014 Writers Forum year. Congratulations to the top eight! Taking the #6 slot is a piece by Writers Forum member Maggi Milton.
Babies in the Park
by Maggi Milton
That day I took my customary seat on the bench farthest from the fountain but still within the central square. I don’t know how long I was engrossed in my crossword puzzle – 10, 20 minutes at least, the sandwich I brought from home long gone, the taste of honey mustard but a memory – when I realized I was hearing babies. At first they just babbled back and forth. I tried to ignore the noise but you know how that goes. Once I noticed the sounds I was not able not to hear them.
Frustrated, I became more and more annoyed at the interruption of my quiet and solitude. I began to pack up in disgust when I realized the babble was no longer babble but had somehow switched into English. I actually heard one of them say, “…wish she would stop jiggling my seat. It’s enough to make me scream but if I do scream, she gets all upset and picks me up and burps me. I mean, give me a break! Burping is NOT a cure-all. It’s okay after I drink a bottle and the milk just kinda sits there, you know what I mean? A burp is always helpful to spit out the bubble and clear my throat. It’s very satisfying when I can aim beyond the nappy and hit her blouse. But what is it with this jiggling?”
I was incredulous. What I was hearing was unbelievable, and I looked to my left to find the source of this voice. Two prams sat side by side in front of two nannies who had their heads together, conversing in what sounded like Spanish. Inside each pram sat a baby dressed in pink, obviously both girls, both wide awake and looking towards each other. One had blond hair, the other brown. The nannies jiggled the prams with their foot while absorbed with their own exchange.
The brown headed said “I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes my head spins from all the motion. I’ve tried to shove her foot away, but my arms are too short to reach all the way. She just thinks I’ve lost my balance and am falling out of this contraption, so the jiggling only stops long enough for her to push me back upright.”
Blondie nodded knowingly. “What do you think of this idea?” She said. “The next time they put us on the ground we crawl over to the prams and set the brakes so all motion is stopped? Or, better yet, maybe we cou… Whoa… There’s a woman over to the right eaves-dropping”
Two sets of eyes swiveled my way. I felt like the rabbit caught in the headlights; all I could do was gape at them. The two sets of eyes turned back towards each other. Two mouths opened wide and from them erupted high-pitched screams like I had never heard before.
The startled nannies vaulted from their seats, snatched the screeching babies from the prams, and clutched them to their shoulders. With quick good-byes, they grabbed the handles of the prams and hustled down the path.
Quiet descended as the screaming stopped. Two sets of eyes gazed over the nannies’ shoulders; two babies’ faces smirked at me as they disappeared around the fountain.