Port Hawkesbury set Pictou down on the floor, and he woke up. He began crawling around the sitting room, setting his small button nose upon a feast of wild forest berries, the musky perfume of the woollen carpet, and a fresh mix of flower petals. Port Hawkesbury came closer to him.
“Hello. I’m Port Hawkesbury, your mother,” she greeted him. He gave her a sniff, as if to learn her aroma, and crawled up to Stellarton.
“Hello, Pictou. I’m Stellarton, your father.”
As with Port Hawkesbury, Pictou sniffed him down, trying to imprint his scent onto his senses. He attempted to climb the stairs, but Port Hawkesbury rightly scooped him up and carried him up to her bedroom for a little privacy. Undressing herself, she held Pictou to her chest, and he started suckling on her milk. Port Hawkesbury lovingly caressed him as he sucked out every last drop.
Getting back into her clothes, she picked Pictou back up and headed down to the kitchen to prepare his dinner. Pictou reached out enthusiastically for his food while it heated up in the microwave. The microwave pinged, and Port Hawkesbury carefully took the creamed corn over to Pictou, who clapped for his feed.
Scooping up a spoonful, Port Hawkesbury began zipping the spoon about like an airplane soaring in the big blue sky. Pictou’s eyes darted around to follow his food, and he swallowed the creamed corn whole.
“Good boy!” Port Hawkesbury praised him, preparing another spoonful. “More, Pictou?”
Later that evening, it was lobster chowder for supper. Pictou crawled in and out from below the table, sniffing at the air. Port Hawkesbury looked down, and she made kissy noises at him. Stellarton sipped on some his soup, blowing at it.
Pictou circled the table again, and Port Hawkesbury picked him up. “Oh, you want some chowder?” she asked him, then she glanced across at the fridge. “Or the chocolate mousse we’ve got for dessert?”
Pictou suddenly started coughing.
“Oh, is he choking?” Stellarton came over and gently patted Pictou’s back.
“Maybe he’s just winding himself,” reasoned Port Hawkesbury. “I fed him earlier this afternoon.”
After finishing up their chowder, she went over to the fridge and fetched the chocolate mousse. She kept Pictou close by so he wouldn’t choke from coughing again.
Port Hawkesbury slipped into her bed alongside Stellarton, having already put Pictou to bed. She lay on her side while Stellarton read a book in the lamplight.
“Pictou’s so sweet,” she said. “It’d be a shame if anything were to happen to him at such a young age.”
“He’s a godsend,” said Stellarton, and Port Hawkesbury agreed. He set his book down on the bedside and turned out the light.
“Goodnight, Port Hawkesbury.”
“Goodnight, Stellarton.” She lay her head on the pillow and started slumbering away.
The next morning, Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton took Pictou out in his stroller into town. Along the way, Pictou was descended on by numerous passers-by, who doted on his sweet looks and eyes.
“Pictou’s the talk of the town, isn’t he?” giggled Port Hawkesbury, and Stellarton nodded.
They ambled down Wellington Street until they reached the marina. A greying fisherman emerged from aboard his fishing boat, spotting Pictou approaching him in the distance.
“Oh, what a sweetie!” he exclaimed, stepping onto the pier. “And what may your name be, little one?”
“Pictou,” replied Port Hawkesbury.
“Pictou, eh?” He came closer to Pictou, who reached out to fondle his grizzled beard. “He’s a beauty. And you’re his parents?”
“Yes, I’m Port Hawkesbury, and this is Stellarton.”
The fisherman looked back up. “Y’all want some breakfast on my boat? It’s totally free, don’t worry.”
“Well, we’re Nova Scotians, why wouldn’t we?” Port Hawkesbury smiled, rolling the stroller onboard beside the table. The fisherman made some buttered toast with cups of tea, placing the slices inside a toast rack and laying it down on the table.
While they ate, Pictou crawled around the boat, sniffing a briny scent of freshly-caught fish and cool seawater in the air. The fisherman glanced at him from his plate.
“Oh, hello, little boy.”
Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton turned around to see Pictou, who was trying to vocalize something.
“Huh? Pictou, did you just say something?”
Pictou uttered another “boat.”
“Oh, has he just said his first word?” Stellarton realized.
“He has?” Port Hawkesbury thought, then her heart burst with joy. “Oh, what a good boy! You’ve finally found your voice!”
“Now you don’t have to guess what he wants anymore,” laughed the fisherman.
“Well done, Pictou! You’ve made me very proud,” smiled Stellarton.
To celebrate Pictou’s first word, Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton decided to dine out at a local pub. She ordered a pizza with salami and four cheeses, while he ordered sausages and mash with onion gravy. Pictou would have his own mash.
“And some red wine and whiskey to drink.”
Pictou started coughing softly. “Oh, Pictou,” Port Hawkesbury moaned, giving him a few pats on his back to alleviate his discomfort. Their drinks arrived, and Stellarton took a sip of his whiskey.
“While we wait it out for our food…” Port Hawkesbury fetched Pictou’s food from his stroller and unscrewed the top. She dug a lump of creamed chicken and sweetcorn out from the pot, then she gestured towards Pictou’s mouth. He turned around and happily swallowed it.
“Good boy. Have some more.”
At that moment, Port Hawkesbury and Stellarton’s own food arrived. Stellarton poured the gravy over his sausages and mash.
“Well, shall we tuck in then?”
Port Hawkesbury nodded. She dined on her pizza slice by slice while also feeding Pictou and sipping on her wine.