i have apparently hit that stage — evidenced by my belly, my posture, my facial expression, or something else equally ephemeral — where strangers feel like it’s ok to approach me as if they know me and talk to me about my obviously pregnant self.

item: v. friendly cashier at the coffee shop looks me over and says, hands making a mounding motion over her own tummy, “when are you due?” i tell her. she says “i don’t know much about babies. but you look full of baby.” yes indeed i am full of baby. apparently that is more visible than the piss and vinegar which i fear i am also quite full of.

item: while picking up my heparin the woman in front of me in line turns around, gives me a huge smile, and says “you’re all belly!” i know she means it as a compliment, but since i also have newly acquired girth around the hips and upper thighs (which now rub obnoxiously when i walk) and an extra fold under my arms, not to mention varicosities of the internal and external sort, anti-clotting medication-induced bruises, and nipples that now point downward, it is all i can do to keep myself from explaining to her the many, many ways i am indeed NOT all belly.

item: woman downtown turns around to look at me (notice the pattern here), gives me a big smile (again with the pattern — i must look like i need softening up), and asks when i’m due. i tell her. “oh! those were the days. well, you’ll be glad when it’s over.” i will, indeed, be very glad not to be pregnant any longer, or ever again. but glad when it’s over? let me see a living, breathing baby on the other side of this before i tempt the gods with that one.

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*ages ago, studying for the gre, i learned “fulsome” as a negative adjective. apparently today it is enjoying something of a renaissance as a positive adjective. perhaps both i in my copious bodiliness and my new friends in their flattery are both variations on this ambiguous theme.

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