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Fate and The Fax Machine.

by CatherineZ 

Posted: 02 August 2011
Word Count: 1007
Summary: My husband has almost had enough of me on certain days and wonder after the incidents here in this story, why he hasn't upped and left me. It's a short story I have written for a competition.

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Fate and the Fax Machine.
Normal couples in normal situations examine any issue, problem or make any announcements via dialogue. Others may email or text each other and then hold discussion in their natural environments. Rarely does one send important information about a life altering event via fax to their spouse’s or partner’s place of work.
As I said in the opening sentence, normal couples do normal things.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how one looks at it, I have inherited my family’s colourful yet temperamental Greek genes which more often than not compel me to take abnormal routes in life. This includes making formal announcements to dear Spouse, who I must admit has defaulted in the Greek genes department as he does not frequently partake in their bizarre on goings.
After my first child, I was told I would not be able to conceive again due to the major gynaecological problems I have. A few years down the track after a multitude of testing, IVF treatments and fervent prayer, I fell pregnant. The doctors were astounded and claimed that I must carry strong healthy genes. The truth is that no one in my family has died of any illness or before the ripe old age of a hundred and four – such are the strong Greek genes I carry.
My husband was ecstatic as all of his side of the family had sons thus ensuring our having a son as well.
Fate and the fax machine however, had different intentions.
Seeing that my husband had had his heart set on having a son (our first child was a daughter), I was perplexed as to how I would break the news to him of my carrying a second daughter as had been confirmed. You see, here in Greece where I now reside, the tradition is for couples to have at least two children, a son and daughter, duly named after the husband’s parents.
At the time, Spouse didn’t have an email address and never used what he considers to be a nuisance, his mobile. This meant that these two means of conveying the news were obsolete.
“Why not tell him face to face,” you may be thinking.
As I mentioned above, my colourful Greek genes, healthy and sturdy as they may be, oblige me to take alternate abnormal routes. Furthermore, that option is for normal couples. So, after racking my brains with trying to find a way of telling him for over a week and after a whole lot of sleepless nights(sleeping pills were of limits due to my circumstance), I decided that the best way to inform Spouse was by the fax machine that sits on his desk in his pharmacy.
A fax machine that when working efficiently produced not only paper with the desired information but a whole lot of smoke and fireworks.
Thus, one busy rainy afternoon at 35 Solomou St, Spouse learnt that his second child was indeed a girl. I shall not go into details as to what he did or how he felt but can simply say that when the doctor went to congratulate him after my labour, Spouse asked what the sex of the child was. Upon confirmation of it being a girl, Spouse was absolutely decided that Fate and fax had conspired against him.
Over time, the fax machine was replaced by a more modern one, one that produced sparks in place of fireworks and less smoke, and was placed in the same spot as its predecessor.
Now, I may follow abnormal routes in life but I do sensible things like signing up for an awful lot of bargain European trips. In 2005, I was offered not only a trip for two to Prague for less than four hundred euro, but also a week on any Aegean Island of my choice. All these bargains came and went via the fax machine, something which helped erode Spouse’s ill feelings towards it after it announced the sex of his second child. Spouse had even eased his averse view on Fate.
However, Fate and the fax machine were not so forgiving of Spouse’s behaviour as they once again had devised different plans.
As we were happily planning our trip to Prague and even raised the subject of visiting Australia, where I was born and raised, I felt nauseous. The nausea continued for quite a few days but I put it down to a bug as, according to science, I was not able to have any more children due to further medical problems. It was just not feasible and having reached forty I definitely did not want any more children. My biological clock had been satisfied and I had a life to lead.
Pregnancy and blood tests held different views and once again I was in the awful predicament of not only telling Spouse that I was pregnant but would have to explain how it had happened when science held opposing views.
After a few more sleepless night, nauseous ones I might add, and a lot of tiring thinking I decided that the only way to go forth was with the fax machine. In truth, I feared for its life as I could see Spouse throwing it out the shop window, possibly killing someone as he did so, once he found out that he was to be a father third time round at the ripe old age of forty eight and God forbid that it be a girl again.
Well, as you can imagine the fax came and Spouse almost had a nervous breakdown as anticipated.
Surprisingly the fax was not thrown out of the shop window and onto the busy road to be run over by a hurling bus but remained in its warm corner on Spouse’s desk. Fate wouldn’t allow such a thing.
A few months later it did produce a letter which was not only well received but also framed – I had conceived a son.
Fate and fax machine, had as it seemed, felt remorse for their previous misbehaviour.

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