‘He works with fish… No not a marine biologist, a geneticist actually.
He looks at fish, and their muscular structure is very similar to our
own, I think. Yeah, um, and so he experiments on fish to study their
genetic abilities. Oh, I forgot to say, these particular fish have
regenerative capabilities, that’s the point of course, and so he studies
them and then passes on his findings to doctors who see if that will
helpwith any of their patients, whohave stuff likemuscular dystrophy.
But at the moment, I think he’s researching stem cells…’
I lose both their interest and their patience. They make an
attempt at politeness before whisking away. I am left standing alone
at the fringe of the party. I go tomy husband; he is with his colleagues.
They are laughing and discussing genetics in their faded grey
turtlenecks. The women wear the same dull colours. I wear shocking
yellow and dangly earrings; I feel ostracised in my own home.
‘Fifty, David!’ smirks a middle aged man. ‘So old! I definitely see
some grey hairs in there!’
Scientists have no concept of when they are being rude or not,
including my husband. I am fifty-one, and am greyer than David.
‘At least I’m not bald, Sergio,’ my husband returns slyly. More
‘Nonsense!’ Nadia intervenes. ‘David looks far younger than most
of us here! In fact, I fear he might’ve defied Darwin and has stopped
evolving altogether!’ They become more raucous.
David stands up a little straighter, his grin a little wider at that
comment. Nadia is the head of the Institute, and an American
beauty. She gave David his position as the Deputy Head. He gives
her a look bordering on adoration.
I smile while my brain glosses over scientific terms.
My mother-in-law congratulates me on the party. She wants to
leave early. My sister-in-law, Karen, gives me a sympathetic look as
she drags her children away from my daughters.
In the piano’s reflection, I seemy smile slowly transform to a grimace.
My daughter, Charlotte, comes down from unplugging the fairy
lights with a small package.
‘For you, Dad,’ she says, yawning. Sorry, I forgot.’
It is a tiny, silver-framed photo of a black and white Darwin. My
husband beams and hugs her, staring at the little faded picture as he
had stared at Nadia.
The Theory Of