It was early on Sunday morning. D’arby’s sister Jinabu woke up and made herself a cup of peppermint tea. She sat on the sofa, enjoying the warmth of the cup in her hands and the smell of peppermint. She stared out the window and started thinking about what she would do that day. It looked like it was going to be a sunny day, and probably not too hot to be outside. Jinabu decided that she would put a load of washing on and then go for a walk in the park. Then she’d make a nice lunch and read baby books all afternoon. Then her husband Andrew appeared. He was dressed for a day out shopping. He wanted to buy all the baby stuff in one go.
“Aren’t you even dressed yet?” complained Andrew when he saw that Jinabu was still wearing her nightie and hadn’t brushed her hair. “Have you got that shopping list I asked you to write? Why have you become so lazy?”
Jinabu didn’t really feel like answering. She hadn’t made a shopping list and didn’t want to go shopping. “Do we need to buy anything?” asked Jinabu. “I’m not even sure of what we will need. I’ve got some second hand stuff from my friends anyway. Can’t we just wait and see if we need anything else when the baby is here?”
Andrew shook his head and frowned. “I don’t want my child to be a bludger before it is even born. How do we know that the stuff your friends gave us is any good? You might not care about using other people’s cast-offs but I do. Why don’t you care what people think of you?”
Andrew turned his back to Jinabu and looked out the window, watching the neighbours put their kids into their big, shiny car. He decided it was time to put his foot down.
“I know you can’t help having been born into a family of useless hippies, but as the mother of my child you will have to make more of an effort to be a normal person. I don’t have to stay married to you, you know. There are plenty of other women who would happily take your place. I don’t want to have to make up excuses for you for the rest of my life. See how the neighbours are? I want us to be like them. They know how to be respectable.” said Andrew.
Jinabu felt that she should have been more shocked than she was. She stared into space and wondered how she had got here. How had she married this man? How had she moved into this big house? How had she ever considered that a relationship with someone who hated everything she believed in could ever work? She didn’t understand anything. Her thoughts were cloudy.
Jinabu didn’t pack a bag. She just told Andrew that she needed to go away and think about things and then she wandered out of the house and down the street in her bare feet, still wearing her floral cotton nightie.
Jinabu was out the door before Andrew could respond. He really didn’t want Jinabu going out of the house dressed like that, especially not without shoes on. There was a strong chance that some of the neighbours would see her, especially as he expected that she would go and sit in the nearby park to do her thinking. Andrew started to follow Jinabu, but then stopped, deciding it would probably be less embarrassing for her to go alone than for anyone to see him trying to get her back inside – they’d probably argue.
So, Andrew let Jinabu go outside to be embarrassing on her own. He stewed for a while and then picked up one of Jinabu’s baby books. In the back of the book there was a list of essential baby equipment. “How easy is that?” thought Andrew and he set off to buy everything on the list.
Jinabu’s messy hair was hanging down her back and around her shoulders. All she could bear to think about was how nice and warm the sun was and how cold and hard the footpath was. Jinabu didn’t care where she was going or what she was going to do. She just followed her feet down the street, and that was how Ark’s eyes first found Jinabu. When Ark saw Jinabu he couldn’t believe that she was real. Then when she turned and looked at him he lost control of his limbs and stalled his truck.
Jinabu was focusing on enjoying the way the sun fell through the leaves of the trees that lined the street when she thought she could smell popcorn. The smell became stronger so she looked around to see what it could be, but the only sign of life was an old, open truck full of furniture coming along the street. As the truck passed her it stalled.
Jinabu looked at the driver of the truck, and at the same time she noticed her own reflection in the passenger side window. It amused her how similar they looked. His hair was long, wild and wispy and he too looked like he was just drifting along without thinking much. Ark was always like that though. He did what he thought was the right thing at the time but hardly ever made plans for his future. He was usually too busy helping someone or fighting for some cause to think about himself much. At that moment, he was moving a friend’s furniture. His friend Ian had been sent to gaol for becoming violent at a protest. Today Ark was moving Ian’s furniture from the flat Ian had been renting and was going to keep Ian’s stuff at his place in the country until he could come and get it.
Jinabu walked over to the truck and Ark leant over and opened the passenger side door.
“Can you smell popcorn?” Jinabu asked
That was when Ark noticed Jinabu’s huge stomach. She looked like she could give birth at any moment.”Not another one.” thought Ark. He was always meeting lovely women who wanted to have kids, but he didn’t want any more kids, or to have to look after them. He’d been a teenage Dad and was content with the one son he had. “It’s probably the truck” said Ark, trying not to look disappointed, and when Jinabu looked confused he got out and showed her a drum in the back of the truck. “Smell this” he said as he opened the drum. “The truck runs on biodiesel that is made from old cooking oil”. Jinabu smelt it and remarked that the exhaust smelt better, then she asked Ark if he had made it himself and if it wasn’t bad for the engine. Ark was always ready to defend biodiesel and began a spiel about how it is actually good for diesel engines when he realized that he was blocking the traffic so he got back into the truck. Jinabu got in too and they drove off together.