I never quite trusted autumn. It had this annoying habit of never quite fulfilling the promises it made.
Which would have been fine, actually, if they didn’t often come so close. I would nearly win the race. I would nearly get there on time. I would nearly be seen by my favorite drummer. But just… close enough was still so far away. Having the almost hurt more than anything.
Therefore, when my interview lined up for the end of autumn, rather than in the beginning of winter when I had thought they would get back to me, I felt like giving up.
“Don’t do that,” my wife scolded.
She should have known better. She had been slammed by autumn as much as I had. Though part of me wondered if it was just me, or if she simply hadn’t been observant of it before meeting up with me.
Nevertheless, she used the lint roller on my jacket to get rid of all the cat hair and sent me on my way. Here it was, the perfect interview that would appear to go well.
Part of me wanted to sabotage it so it couldn’t even be close. I smiled.
I could wait long enough, for winter to bring me its luck.
Everyone knew the story. No one knew the truth.
“You told him what?” He adjusted his collar. And again. It didn’t move very much.
“About what you said in your sleep!” Oh, she was unaffected by what she had done to him. Like normal. How come he could never embarrass her? It was always him!
“Wh-why would you tell him that?”
She smiled, innocently. He had no idea if she really didn’t understand what she had done or not. “We were talking and it just came up!”
“How could it just come up?” There was no way he could go into the meeting now.
“Uh…” She shrugged. “It just did! What’s wrong?”
He took a moment to pinch the bridge of his nose. The motion gave him a moment to think about what just happened. Which didn’t calm him down as much as made him freak out. “Okay, okay… it doesn’t have anything to do with anything. Just focus on the work.”
“You can do it!”
Well, she was always a good cheerleader, at least.
List of things to believe in:
1. Myself. Pretty good idea, as he keeps telling me.
2. Bike. Because if I think about how fast I’m going downhill on something with two wheels for too long I might panic. Because what if I fall off at that speed? I could die! Or worse, break my wrist!
“What are you writing?” his boyfriend asked, sitting down on the other side of the futon.
He paused, pulling the pad of paper down into his lap. “Oh, just a list of things to be optimistic about.”
His boyfriend stretched out across the way. He moved the pad out of his lap for the other’s head to land there. “Cool. Am I on there?”
3. My boyfriend. Who bought me the bike so I would stop complaining about taking the bus.
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
They felt their mind shut down. Boy or girl? As if there were no other choices. Much as their childhood had been dictated by this binary agenda. As if the structure of their body was the be-all end-all for their mind.
Boy or girl. Much like they had to be a girl, because they were pregnant.
As if they were supposed to ask a doctor to tell them what equipment their developing child had and then create an environment to match. As if the child would have a choice.
Was their child a boy or a girl? The child wasn’t born yet. How could they know anything about their child yet? Right now? Only what they or someone else might impose on a being who didn’t know any better.
Their spouse’s words came to mind. Whatever they are, my dear, we will support that.
They took a breath. “One day, they will tell me.”
The person was confused, but they didn’t care. They weren’t going to lie for the convenience of a stranger. They didn’t have to explain themselves.
They would be a parent. What the world wanted to dictate as normal wouldn’t ruin this for them.