A Change in My Tracks

I held an adorable 16-month-old.

Her face was tightened in concentration, a serious expression, observing everything around her. Her eyes were an indiscernible amalgam of green and blue. She has wispy, light brown hair and fair skin. Her solid weight against me, the way her body fit, tucked into my side, perfectly to mine—

It surprised me. A complete baby-stranger. I was in sandals and shorts in my friend’s damp, grassy, buggy backyard, for goodness sake. I had just rushed over— it was her birthday— from Target with a gift card and bags of dog food for the charity she’d asked for donations for, sweaty and frazzled, 40 minutes late. And she handed her daughter to me. I hate to sound like a completely cheesy, overly maternal woman. But it happened to me, and it was real.

It shocked me.

It wasn’t a ‘I want this’ feeling. Not a craving. Nothing like that.

It was a ‘Wow. This is…” feeling. It was an open-mouthed, awed feeling. It was a warmth. It was like.. “I love this.’

I was almost sure I didn’t want to have kids. 100% sure. And not only because I strongly, disgustedly detest my family (and society)’s belief that, as a woman, marriage and kids are all that matters. It’s an ignorant philosophy, I thought. I almost rebelled against it, in a way, deciding that even if I DID ever love a man enough to marry him, I still wouldn’t, legally, knocking down my parent’s hopes that I would do what was ‘appropriate’ in my culture and all that shit.

It’s because knew I didn’t want to be a mom. I’ve meticulously planned my life, and none of it involves kids. I’m just too selfish, I thought, as I came to terms with this. Children require sacrifice, devotion, and I want to travel at length, expend my energy helping people, and have a successful, busy career. I want to do what I want when I please, and so I choose NOT to have kids. I’m not going to have them and then leave them behind. I think that’s selfish. Plus, there are so many children in the world to care for. And animals.

I knew I had that maternal instinct, in that way, but still— I didn’t want to have kids. Maybe I would even adopt a teenage child when I get much, much older, I thought.

It’s not because I don’t like kids. I just don’t want my own. I baby-sit for my baby-booming friends all the time, some of whose kids I ADORE. (Kids are so bloody smart these days, eh?) And even then, I still just knew I didn’t want them.

I’ve held kids before. Plenty. My friends have been popping them out like crazy, lately.

I know it’s not the little girl that’s different (though she was really cute). It was just.. what happened, what I got when I held her.

People complimented me on the ease in which I carried her, that saw me take her from her eager mom. They cooed when, much later, she suddenly rested her chin against my shoulder, seeming more than comfortable, as if she had done that with me a million times.

And suddenly, in that moment, I felt a surge of emotion. My mouth parted, open in confusion.

I found myself holding my breath. I moved and shifted her against me but every position felt right. And good. I could have held her against me for hours and hours.

It’s not that I can’t stop thinking about it, now, I just can’t believe that happened. I’m not obsessing, or anything. It was just.. kind of amazing.

What brought that on? I tilt my head curiously towards the sky, inquiring to the Universe.

Speaking of things I said I’ll never do…

I met a man. I’ve been spending a lot of time with said man. Like so much that I’ve considered moving in with him.

Yeah, call 911.

Actually, he’s an old friend. We bumped into each other on accident when I moved back into town, and the attraction was so immediate. I still get chills when I remember that hug, when I touched his upper arm as I turned to walk away. We both laugh at how those feelings just were not there before! Isn’t that funny, how that happens?

I always knew I could trust him, and I think that’s what makes being with him so easy, SO easy, so light, so fun. It’s why I… let him in.

But it’s suddenly grown more serious. He’s got me more figured out than I thought. I’m accustomed to leaving a mystery about me with my suitors, but he knows so much about me. Its like he knows my every train of thought. He’s extremely caring. I love everything about him.

We don’t even like to go two days with seeing each other. But not in a needy, obsessive way. It’s just that he makes me so happy, I-

I said I’d never be naive again. I said I’d never fall in love again, allow myself to indulge in ‘need’ or ‘attachment’. I scoffed, laughed in the face of love. I went into this entire thing knowing I wouldn’t fall for him, thinking it’d be a casual fling between friends. I made that very clear with him. He agreed, even though he knew he’d eventually want more, where we would end it. I thought I had 100% control over my emotions in this.

And here we are.

Now, I’m finding myself wondering what it would be like, to have him around more. I’m wondering what it would be like to sleep close to him for a few days in a row and wake up and have breakfast with him every morning. I’m wondering how I ever fall asleep when I’m not with his warm body pressed against mine. I wake up there so happy, it hurts. And I want it, godammit, I want it all.

I thought I had 100% control of my emotions. I mean— I do. I just don’t want to say no to these fantasies. My willpower is weak, because I can see our life together all too clearly, and its so fucking full of happy.

I know he wants it, too. His genius way of implying it all leaves me with no pressure. He’s been so considerate, understanding. I only feel his sadness after we have an amazing time together, like he knows that soon I’m going to disappear.

At first, my despair was that I was going to break his heart.

I never thought I would break mine.

Being with him is the easiest, most comfortable relationship I’ve ever had. We are partners more than lovers.

Why I planned not to get married is a long, arduous explanation. But I have major psychological issues when it comes to marriage and relationships… And I simply thought I was happier without a permanent relationship. I’m very, very, happy on my own.

WHY AM I GETTING ALL THE THINGS I NEVER ASKED FOR? Maybe asking for it ‘not’ to happen is just attracting it into my life!


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