It feels okay so far.
Tonight I wasn't tired yet so I left the house after Chris fell asleep. I took my keys and I took my bag and I walked for an hour, wandering down Court Street and back up Clinton. Court was filled with bars that spilled onto the sidewalk, pizza places still serving Italian Ices and a beer garden that was loud enough to wake the dead. I peered into restaurants where some people were having first dates and others were having last dates. Girls in sundresses hugged outside of the movies. I wandered in a new candy shop that recently opened and chuckled at my youth in candy form. (How did we eat some of that stuff?!)
Then I'd turn back a street and walk back towards home on Clinton, where tall brownstones lined the quiet streets. I passed several people reading on their front steps; others stared into space with a cigarette in hand.
I padded on in my sandals, the ones that are getting harder to strap on because of my belly. I peeked into windows that illuminated dinner parties and couples reading and someone snoozing in front of the television. Cabs rolled by with their lights on.
I didn't feel alone.
I used to think having a baby in the city was the worst thing in the world. I used to think that the subway would be awful and not having a car was limiting and the dirtiness was insurmountable. Lately we've been realizing that there's something to be said for leaving the apartment and stumbling on society. Observing the tiny moments of other people's lives has got to count for something, especially as we stand on the edge of brand new lives ourselves.
After an hour I ended up at the bodega down the block, smelling fruit alongside strangers at a quarter to eleven. The muggy air unleashed the smell of peaches and I broke down and carried an armful of fruit into the cashier. I've eaten half the watermelon slice while writing this blog post and it tastes like summer and my grandparents' backyard. I skipped dinner tonight because I wasn't feeling well and as it turns out, all I wanted was some fruit.
"Some nights I walk around town, protected by my malachite machine-made bracelet that Esther gave me and by Oscar's track team relay baton, which I could use as a weapon. The obstetrician said I should exercise for the baby's sake, and when I do that, I sort of accidentally see into people's living room windows even though I don't always want to... when they see a pregnant woman walking by unaccompanied, pregnantly huge like me, carrying a track team relay baton, they usually give me a smile or a wan wave, like I'm contributing to the Gross National Census or the enlarging welfare of humanity. People go by, things go by, such as me."
That's Chloe's last chapter in The Feast of Love. Tonight this passage came back to me during the quiet part of my walk on Clinton.
I can't believe I'm pregnant. The realness and rawness of it isn't something I understand all at once, not at any moment. It keeps slipping away from me, fading into to-do lists or doctor's visits or foods to avoid in restaurants. It's like how I can never seem to effectively meditate, how I can catch hold of the quiet inner space for seconds at a time but nothing longer.
I can just tell that I'm going to be massively overwhelmed by his birth. The labor, I feel somewhat prepared for. But meeting him, my son? It slips away into one of those untouchable spaces. I feel like those people who do "first looks" on their wedding days. Someone amazing is right behind me. He's so close and the anticipation builds; I know it's someone I love but I just don't fully know what to expect when I turn around. He has been so close this whole time and yet totally unknowable.
Nine months is a long time to wait to meet the person who's been inside you this whole time.