I am sitting outside a coffee shop when I see a cute girl standing at the register. She’s in her mid-twenties, with shiny hair and a cute body. She looks so thin to me (but even the Pillsbury Dough Boy looks like he’s lost weight to me these days.) I hate her.
She is bubbly and energetic, zipping around the coffee shop doctoring her caffeinated beverage. She has perfect skin, no hormone-induced pimples. Then I hate on her some more, as effectively as anyone wedged into an armchair can send death rays across a crowded room at a total stranger.
Then she makes it all worse. She drops a wrapper on the ground and then snaps down to the ground and picks it up. She snaps back up again, twists around and grabs her coffee. I haven’t seen my feet from that angle in months. I actually whimper when I drop things because the ground is so far away from my hands. I might as well have dropped a contact lens into the Grand Canyon. I can’t get there from here.
Cute Girl totters out in high heels and a form-fitting outfit. I never thought I’d say it, but oh, high heels, I miss you. I miss having bony ankles. I miss my old narrow feet. I ogle Cute Girl’s ankles and realize I have tears in my eyes. I have sunk to a new low: mentally torturing some random woman because I have cankles. From the knee down, I am Barney Rubble. And it’s her fault somehow.
She takes a cute sip of her cute caffeinated beverage and smiles (how else? Cutely.) She probably needs caffeine because she went to club-hopping last night. Clearly, she stays awake past 9:00. She functions on four hours of sleep because she stayed up having amazing sex or something fabulous like that. Not because she wrestled with her body pillow all night. I. Hate. Her.
Cute Girl busts open my reverie by exiting the coffee shop. I cast a few other hugely uninformed but still incredibly unkind thoughts after her. And then she gets into the passenger-side door of a station wagon. There’s a car seat with a kid in it and a way-back crammed with baby paraphernalia.
Wow. Looking down remorsefully into my decaffeinated beverage, craning around my 9-months big belly to glance at my purple, swollen ankles, I suddenly remember. Someday soon this experience of pregnancy — uncomfortable, out-of-body, bizarre, and culminating in unimaginable pain – will be over. It will be replaced by the wonder and mystery of a child. Of being a mother.
I look back out the window in time to see Cute Girl reach back to settle the baby. Some nice, normal-looking man is driving. And away they go, into my future.