I was super excited to be going back to Hamilton Island – my first (and last) visit had been with my Mum and Dad back in 2001. It’s an expensive place to be, so I booked myself onto the earliest flight to maximise the amount of time I had there there. The plane was half empty, so I got not just my beloved window seat – but the entire row to myself – and three more seats across the aisle too, if I really wanted. Flying over all the other islands was as wonderful as I remembered, and then on arrival I got the keys to my room and headed up to discover the door was already open and the cleaner was just leaving.
“Room is ready, but I just need to go and find new cover for highchair,” she said, waving something plastic at me that was presumably the old cover for the highchair. “I be back very soon.”
“Okay,” I said automatically. Then “Hang on, I don’t actually need one, so don’t worry about it.”
The woman peered at me, then at my stripy suitcase and then back at me again. “You not bring baby?”
“No,” I said surprised. “Were you expecting a baby?”
Her eyes lit up as if she finally understood “Ah! Congratulations!”
“Thanks,” I said – again automatically – it had been a very early start – then I realised what she was congratulating me on. “No,” I said. “I’m not expecting a baby, I was asking if you were expecting a baby…. I mean, if you were expecting me to bring a baby?”
“Ah!” she said. “Me? No. I am not expecting a baby. I have baby. I am breastfeeding.” She then patted one of her breasts and acted out rocking a baby in case I hadn’t understood. “But you, you have not brought baby.”
“No,” I said. “I haven’t got a baby.”
“Oh,” she looked confused. “Then why you need highchair?”
Now I was confused. “I don’t need a highchair.”
She smiled as though we were finally getting somewhere. “So I can go, and you don’t need me to come back with new cover?”
“No. Thank you though.”
“This is my pleasure,” she said with a beaming smile and gave a little bow before leaving the room as if to signal the end of the play.