Iridella surveyed the group in the private room
of the restaurant.
Iris and she were the last of the old group, all of whom
had carried to term and moved up to the Widowed Mommie group.
She was very uncomfortable around the newer group of Pregnant Widows, never quite figured out how you were supposed to help them deal with their loss and gain just when you were trying to come to grips with your own in the fog of hormonal mists.
Iris was revelling in her new role as the den mother to this pile of gravid pups. She was the source of all wisdom and the carrier of the sacred cellophone. Iridella had to keep from laughing a good portion of the time when Iris was dispensing some bit of half-baked old-widows-tale debunkment.
The job had given her an extended leave, as she had some unused vacation time left and there was little, outside of attending meetings, that she couldn't do at home. She had a couple or three of the new PWC members helping out around the place. She had not made much of fuss when they cleaned out, uh, what's-his-name's study or den or whatever it was in order to make a nursery. She had been amazed at the number of half-full bottles of gin and other spirits that were hidden in hollowed-out books and dayplanners. One of the new girls, a mid-forties redhead with one leg, named Sinthya, wasn't surprised at all. Her hubby had died walking home from the local, with a couple bottles of stout under his arm. He'd already had a few before he left, and stepped in front of an auto transport truck carrying twelve other vehicles on it's double-decker bed. "Ker-smack!," as Sinthya would tell it. "And that's all she wrote."
She didn't know if she missed the other widows that much, anymore than she welcomed the new ones. Dr. Spleen had dropped her bundle and it turned out to have a few difficulties. She had visited the Dr. and child a few times, but seemed to be in the way. The doctor told her to come back after her's was pumped out, and then they would have something in common. In the meantime, she would be bothered by worrying about her own, which tests had shown was likely to be more normal than necessary. Whatever that meant?
Iris had gotten her to watch some videos about new motherhood and Imp had, as he had with the rest, signed up to be the breathing partner when the time came. Iridella had gotten used to Imp, but not quite to the fact that he never became involved with any of the Widowed Mommies when involvement became possible. He wasn't gay, though that would have been a comfort under the circumstances. She didn't think that a man with all his faculties should be able to be hanging around that many women without finding one to his liking. Iris said, "Well, maybe it's your destiny to be the one."
"For him? Eeeeyewwww!,"said Iridella.
"See? Now, leave it alone. It's really none of your business."
Iridella still hadn't had any contact from what's-his-face's family or her own. She hadn't done anything to offend any of them. His old friends had stayed away, too. All she had to depend upon were the Widows and some of the people at work.
It was as the dessert cart was being wheeled in that she felt it.
Iris saw her fall out of her chair and she immediately speed-dialled 911 and then Imp.
Iridella lay there, someone's jacket folded under her head.
She felt she was awaiting the arrival of a long-expected traveler.
"Family, here you come," she muttered as the wave passed through her and the red lights whirled up through the window.