One of my closest friends told me she was pregnant the other night over taco salads. I imagined us a year from then, sitting in her living room; Her, sitting across from me in her pajamas — her son latched to her breast — resenting me a little for being able to come and go as I please, for not completely understanding what it’s like to have to share my body, to nourish another human with it. She’ll remember that I never really liked kids in the first place (neither of us did for a while there), and wonder if hers is different.
He will be different, I know that already. I’ll love him because he is part of her. He’ll have her nose, her hair. He’s precious. But, even in this imagined future, I don’t know how to express that sufficiently, because I also don’t have the urge to hold him. He’s sweet, but his crying gives me anxiety. I have to be somewhere after this visit and don’t want to get spit up on my dress.
We’ll try to talk. The conversation will be about lack of sleep. I’ll miss our old conversations, but also want to carry a conversation that is relevant to her new life. But I don’t know how. I get plenty of sleep, and suddenly I’ll feel guilty about it. I’ll become too uncomfortable and decide to leave. I’ll give her a hug. Tell her that her son is beautiful and mean it. Tell her I’ll see her soon. Things will come up. Months will go by. Years.
When she told me she was pregnant, I took a swig of my fishbowl margarita. Managed a congratulations. Smiled.
I’ve led a somewhat unconventional life up until now, and I think it helps if I explain my situation. The nutshell version goes like this: I dropped out of high school at 17 and ran away with a boyfriend who, after about a year, was arrested for domestic violence. I left and, not long after, became a flight attendant at the age of 19. I reconnected with a high school love interest via Myspace at 20, fell in love, and got married three months later, just before he deployed for Iraq for the second time. He was wounded three weeks later, eventually losing his left leg and making me a full-time caregiver. When…