Waiting in the departure lounge, I shift my weight from my right foot to my left.
My duffle bag is looped loosely over my shoulder.
I glance up from my book.
Everyone else sits.
Everyone else stares.
Outside, the sky is seaweed green, like the sunset is stuck, struggling at the bottom of an empty wine bottle.
Like we are viewing it from the bottom of the ocean.
I look back down to my page number.
“Remember 78,” I tell myself, and close the book.
I don’t like to dog-ear pages. But sometimes I forget.
I notice a few older men eye me wearily.
Perhaps they are sizing me up as an over-zealous pre-boarder.
Perhaps they are excited by the length of my dress.
By the height of my socks.
A part of me feels like I want to stake a claim on one of the few remaining seats, but overwhelmingly I want to remain standing.
I want to stay upright forever.
I have already been travelling for five hours, and another five and a half hours await.
Once I get on to a plane, I devolve into a tangled mess of too-long legs, poor posture, and deep sleep.
Resting on planes has never been a problem for me.
I do it quickly, and with ease.
It’s just my mouth.
It hangs wide open, and I am always afraid that someone might drop things there.
Or cherry pits.
“You should eat a sandwich,” I tell myself. “And fill up your water bottle.”
Instead I look at magazines and daydream about making out with Ewen McGregor.
Instead I take a photo of myself pretending to dance with a giant, fake stuffed bear.
I think about opening up a chain of airport gyms.
I think about how showers would be integral to the success of this business venture.
And then I walk the length of the terminal.
Departure levels are such strange beasts.
So many people in transit, lives in flux. No one speaking, everyone just focused.
On making it to their destination.
On just making it.
I think about the people who work at the restaurants and cafes; the gift shops, the newsagents and the duty frees. Dealing with thousands of bleary-eyed, bumbling travellers, acting as gatekeepers of People magazine and double mint gum, suppliers of double doubles, and venti extra hots, always ready to ask “like another?” or “fries or salad?” and dreading the possibility of “I think you’ve had enough?”
I always want to talk.
Talk to everyone I see.
Find out their stories.
From where are they coming.
Where are they going.
Who do they love. Who do they loathe.
Who do they want.
What do they want.
What do they want so much more than just to make it.
But instead I just open my book to page 76, and re-read those last two pages.
I have a question for all of you beautiful people:
Do any of you nutters have kids?
Full disclosure: I am not with child.
I’m just curious that’s all. You see, there is a kid, currently located just outside of my kitchen window, who has been crying and screaming its absolute head off for say, the past fifteen, twenty minutes.
And this is not a baby, we’re talking about here. We are talking a legitimate, walking, talking human being – one who is weeping for all of Canada. He probably has a full set of teeth, takes trips to the loo solo, and can choose his outfits in the morning.
Having listened to him wail on and on for the last little bit, I just want to lean out of my window and holler, “WHAT’S THE PROBLEM KID? THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL! THERE. IS. NO. CRYING. IN. BASEBALL!!!11!!
AND GET OFF MY LAWN.
I mean, that’s pretty horrible of me, is it not?
I am definitely the worst.
And it is reactions of mine – like this one just described – that make me fear for the day (should I be blessed in the properly functioning uterine department) that I become a mother.
I just can’t imagine that scenario working out all too well.
For one, I have zero maternal instinct.
No, minus zero.
I have never, ever, had that “twinge” – when, after having glimpsed some beautiful scene where a glowing mother cuddles here gorgeous offspring – something inside of me says “I want that.”
To be honest, most of the time everything inside my entire being begins screaming, “DO NOT WANT. COMMENCE THROWING UTERUS IN GARBAGE DISPOSAL.”
I mean, sure, there are moments where I concede that it wouldn’t be so bad. In fact, the people I know and love who have kids make it look downright phenomenal. There are tons of great children out there, and seeing how many of the cool cats in my life love their kids is darn cool.
Plus I keep telling myself that I probably wouldn’t feel the same way about my child as I do about many of the random children I come into contact with – that being mostly terror, confusion, and incredulity.
Deep down I know I would definitely love the crap out of them.
But I still worry.
I worry for a number of reasons (above and beyond the fact that I seem to have pawned off my biological clock sometime in the early 90s for two Kitkat bars, some sour keys, and a copy of Kirby’s Dreamland for my Gameboy.)
The first and mayhaps the biggest?
I just don’t get babies.
I made it through about 4 minutes of this movie before turning it off:
Like seriously, people go absolutely bat shit CRAZY over babies. Not only that, but they go bonkers over baby paraphernalia.
WHAT THE HECK PEOPLE?
It makes me think that babies have some magical power to get you stoned. (Just think about it -marijuana gets you high, and potheads LOVE them some weed leaf stickers, Bob Marley posters, and giant decorative bongs – so I’ve come to the conclusion that it must be the same for those crazed baby-lovers.)
And if it isn’t for their ability to get you high, how else could people possibly care about a tiny pair of socks or a facecloth with a frog on it?
WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE KNOW THAT I DON’T?
And in terms of the baby itself – I too need this explained. Babies are small, foreign, angry old men or women, hell bent on breaking your ear drums, defecating mustard gas, and peeing all over every square inch of your life.
This is terrifying!
Seriously, their catchphrase could be – “BABIES: POOP GRENADES ONLY NOW WITH MORE POOP.”
And yet people think they are the bees knees.
And don’t tell me it’s because of their new baby smell.
I’ve smelled me some babies in my life and I know for a FACT that it’s not all cake and roses.
I worry that I’ll have a baby, and the baby will all be “I’m a baby SCREAM POOP PEE EAT SLEEP HAHAHAH JUST JOKING I’M NEVER GOING TO SLEEP SCREEEEAAAAAMMMMMM” to which I’ll just be like, “You, sir, are an arsehole, BUH BYE.”
I worry that I’ll have the baby, and the baby will all be, “BABY” and I’ll be like, “That’s all you got? Where the frick is the rest!? I JUST SPENT NINE MONTHS MAKING YOU – ENTERTAIN ME SPAWN!!!”
I worry that I will be the worst mother ever.
So what I guess I’m saying is that I worry.
I worry that I’ll give my kid the eating disorder that I struggled with for years; that I’ll give them the anxiety that I deal with on a daily basis; that I’ll make them think they need make-up to be beautiful because I too like to wear make-up; that I’ll drop them on their head the second I get home.
I worry about the unknown – what about my job? What about my relationship?
What about my body?
I worry about worrying about my body.
But throughout it all, I have one ace in the hole that makes all of these questions seem not quite so daunting.
That one person who makes me worry just a little less.
And that, of course, is Mr. M.
My freaking knight in shining armour.
Because somehow (and I have no idea how) he doesn’t have any of these doubts. He just knows. He has confidence in not only himself, but in me, and it is through him that I have started to believe, little by little, that one day, if this happens, it will be just grand.
And while I’m not necessarily at the same level of belief that he cooly-as-a-cucumber maintains, I have the belief that I will get there, eventually.
Because when I see him with children? That’s when I feel something flicker.
I imagine him and I giving piggybacks, and leaping through sprinklers; teaching small, wild haired munchkins about tidal pools and earthworms, making mud pies, and reading storybooks by flashlight.
And it gives me pause.
But who knows – maybe one day all of what I currently feel about myself, and my relationship with my yet-to-be-born babies will change. I will wake up, flick on the internet and order the newest poo grenade and pay extra for the express shipping.
But until that day, my questions remain.
As does my love.
Unlike, thank goodness, the echoes of the crying child, outside of my window.