Lack of Tactile Love  

Lucinda Palme

Lack of Tactile Love

On a drizzly weekday, a week before Easter, the Lindquist and the Blomqvist met over an early dinner at a café on Avenyn the High Street of Gothenburg.

The couple in cohabitation were with their child in the pram.

The Lindquist the father brought the child to the café at the mutually agreed time with the mother the Blomqvist.

The parents were pleased with their baby boy: sleeping like a baby! With the pram sandwiched between them, they conversed. They have decided the name of the child: Alexander but are still finalizing the surname: whether to have a single surname or both the surnames or both the surnames with- or without hyphen, and which surname should come first and which surname should follow the first.

Alexander woke up, and saw the ceiling of the café. He wailed. His mother and father responded together. He shifted his gaze between them but fixed it on his mother.

Alexander smiled at his mother. The mother’s eyes moistened. She has had started to work, after her maternal leave. She extended her hand to him. The baby held his mother’s little finger, and let his mother touch and scrape his cheeks with all the maternal love. The tactile touch of her son made the mother to forget all the weariness of the day, and all the trivial tribulations and affective tribulations of life, melt away.

The mother and the child exchanged gazes and tickles and smiles.

Sensing the eruption of dancing of affection between the mother and the child, the father took out the milk bottle from his fatheringbag, and dangled it above the head of Alexander. Without looking at his father, the son kicked the milk bottle away, from his sight. The milk bottle fell on the floor. The father was displeased, but made strident efforts to draw his attention but his son was adamant: not to respond to his father.

The mother Blomqvist and the father Lindquist locked their gaze.

The father said, “Gave the whole day for him, forgets when he sees the mother.”

“Is it, so,” the mother quipped.

“Yes. I’m enjoying it,” he said referring to his paternal duties, but the mother thought he was alluding to paternal leave.

“Be honest to yourself,” the mother added.

“What?” the father raised his voice.

* * *

Fredrik Lindquist is perfectly balancing his duties as the father of his son and the tasks as the boyfriend of his girlfriend. And, he is on parental leave for an uninterrupted year and a half. He has established a regimen for himself and the household activities. He made his girlfriend Annica Blomqvist feel proud of himself ‘for doing a great job’, and he felt appreciated by her and their circle of friends and relatives.

Annica Blomqvist is splendidly experiencing something she thought she would miss in her life: motherhood. With luck, and dogged determination, she found it for she made some sacrifices and discovered that purpose of life unlike her peers and who abound in Scandinavia. She made his boyfriend Fredrik Lindquist feel good about her, and she felt adored by him, and their circle of friends and relatives.

* * *

Annica Blomqvist, without the intention of being poky or peering in to the daily activities of Frederik Lindquist, her boyfriend and the father of her child, she started to notice what he did with their child in her absence. He was attentive in many duties but he was also inattentive in few duties. Annica questioned rather than answering his question, “What do you do when you are with Alex in the pram?”

“I walk,” he said, “all over.” Truly, Frederik walked all over Majorna the area of charm and classicism with a dollop of idealism. He is seen in the green spaces of the Westside Cemetery, woods, pavements and pathways, cafes and eateries. When he walked and jogged with the pram, he also listened to music, and conversed. When his son in the pram sought the attention of the father there was no attention from the father except for militaristic feedings.

Drifting her gaze from her boyfriend to their son, she told, almost smilingly, “Touch, see, sound, hear … are important.”

“You mean, I don’t do that?” the father noted.

“You are confessing,” the mother said.

An air of uneasiness whirred around the parents, but the mother and the son continued to feel their tactile communications. To take away that air of uneasiness, the mother smooched the father of her son: tactile love.

—Lucinda Palme