Sixth Sense

I’m not talking about the movie with the boy who sees dead people …All. The. Time. And I’m not talking about a mother’s sixth sense as quite frankly, I’m certain it’s an excuse pounced upon by our own mothers when they claim they:

(a) Just know it was you who was calling (as my own mum pronounces.)

(b) Know you’re in trouble. Let’s face it, this claim really comes about when you’re a teenager and all teenagers get into trouble. It’s called Adolescence.

(c) Know you’re ill. This is another classic from my mum who claims she knows I’m under the weather by, ‘the sound of your voice down the phone.’ No! Really?

This little post is all about the sixth sense that I think hits us at one point or another. Like the time when I first saw my Better Half, I knew he was The One. I’ve just read that back and it sounds like I’m a bunny boiler. Let me clarify: I knew my Better Half was The One even though his introducing himself involved lending me his 500-page financials derivatives book to help me get through a set of exams. Seriously, that would be a turn off. But, because I just knew, I was willing to overlook the gesture. That said, if I had any inclination that it would be several years before we got together properly, maybe I would’ve given up. For me, sixth sense, or that hunch, is a little like driving in fog: you don’t see the whole picture. Or then again, you do see it, but you choose to ignore it even when it’s screaming at you in the face.

Like the time, many moons ago, when I knew I shouldn’t have got on my bike to train for an epic bike trip across Kenya. Said Better Half and I had had an epic break-up (break-up number one) and I was in no state to do anything, let alone ride a bike. It’s a miracle I only fell off, culminating in an epically fractured wrist and nothing more.

When it comes to travel, I do wish that my own sixth sense was a little less temperamental – at the very least when it comes to driving long distances alone with my kids. If only I could foresee the instances when I shouldn’t get into the car with the children. Some of you may have read a previous blog post on my night time drive through dense fog. It seems that my spate of joyless car journeys continues. The most recent one involved a five hour journey home from my parents – on this occasion, through hurricane-force winds where I had a near miss with a caravan flying off the back of a lorry. I’m now of the view that someone out there has bribed a guardian angel to look out for me.

Although I should have paid more attention to the 85-year-old palm reader in Jaipur as he may have had more foresight than I originally gave him credit for. Again, it was many years ago. We were on holiday in India. I had been suffering from a bout of Delhi Belly – which I knew would happen (after all my warnings to My Better Half to be careful, it would have to be me that would fall ill.) I was feeling a little worse for wear and getting our palms read seemed like a good distraction. Besides, I was sort of drawn to the elderly man sitting underneath a tree in the garden of our hotel, a tartan blanket wrapped around his legs. He looked like an old uncle, a little lonely under his tree and I thought it would be nice to give him some company and to let him read the lines on our hands. Then again, maybe that was part of his act, to lure us in.

I can’t remember much of what he said, apart from three things:

‘Invest in property,’ he said, sternly. ‘The stock market is too risky. You will lose too much, too much, I tell you.’  He said this to both of us. Although he only wagged his finger at me.

On the question of children, in my case, he said, ‘You will have three.’ Then he sniffed, ‘All daughters.’

To my Better Half he said, ‘You will have four children.’ He didn’t mention their sexes. Not that it mattered. I was too busy wondering how on earth (given that still, in my mind, my Better Half was The One) that could be the case.

‘Didn’t he see we were together?’ I asked.

‘You really believed him?’ My Better Half replied. ‘He just reeled things off the top of his head.’

That was indeed true as it seemed he hardly glanced at our hands. Yet for a few days afterwards, I couldn’t get the notion out of my head of my Better Half having four children versus my predicted three. Perhaps he wasn’t The One. Perhaps he would have an affair. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps …

‘You’re becoming neurotic,’ my Better Half remarked. He was right. I was turning into a bit of a bunny boiler over the whole thing and thankfully for both of us I pushed it to one side. Anyway, several years passed with a lot of water flowing under the bridge, washing away the memory of the palm reader and his four versus three children thing.

Okay - this isn't the man who read our palms. But I liked the picture and wanted to include it...

Okay – this isn’t the actual palm reader. But I liked the picture and couldn’t find anything better…

Until recently. My sixth sense kicked in late last year when I knew the third child I was carrying wouldn’t make it past eight weeks. I was right. In a way, this hunch, together with the fact that I already had two beautiful and funny children, softened the blow. Still, I didn’t foresee that the experience would plunge me into a rather dark place. Fortunately, I recovered, although now and then I think about the child that never was. And I do have another bun baking in the oven which has brought back memories of the Jaipur palm reader wrapped up in his tartan blanket, rattling out his four versus three children prophecy. It could be that he was right: my Better Half has effectively fathered four children (unless he has a dirty secret) while I will have only borne three (touch wood, cross fingers, etc etc..) And as to this third …well, let’s just say I’ll be able to use the same clothes.

Until next time!


The Silent Children  - Amna K. Boheim