Some days my eating schedule is seriously off-kilter and for whatever reason, be it an unexpected nap, the need to take Olive out for a walk, or just a lack of food in the apartment, I find myself in the midst of a too-long gap where I haven’t eaten a thing for a few hours. This may seem innocuous to some, but understand that Keats is sucking me dry, despite not even being born yet. The longest I feel full, even after a large meal, is approximately ten to twenty minutes, thirty if I ate phở '(all that broth helps).
It was on one such day, at the end of January when our funds had been depleted to literally a few dollars each and then gloriously replenished with Pay Day, that I had gone about an hour and a half without eating. This was no cause for alarm but I knew that in about half an hour I would start to feel Keats barreling around inside me, signaling that food was again necessary. Birch came home from work at about 4:30 in the afternoon and as usual prepared to take Olive out for “Frisbee,” “Walk,” and “Field.” All words that Olive understands very clearly and which Birch was now saying to her as she freakishly jumped up and down and ran back and forth from her leash hung up on the wall to Birch in the kitchen, all the while being reminded to be “Gentle” when she jumped up. Just as they were leaving, it began to rain. Birch decided to go anyway but claimed he’d skip the field and just take her around the block.
Thirty minutes later, they still weren’t back. Suprisingly not worried, I figured Olive had not accepted this compliance to the weather and that Birch had taken her to the field despite the increasingly heavy rain. This all would have been, of course, fine and indeed a welcome break from Olive if the combination of Keats kicking my diaphragm and my stomach rumbling for food hadn’t started a few moments later. Within fifteen minutes I was cleaning the living room, hoping to get my mind off of it, not wanting to eat because I had since set my heart on pho at our local haunt downtown and I didn’t want to spoil my appetite. (Even though I’m still not sure whether that is even possible). So I waited and when I heard Olive sprinting down the pathway to our door ten minutes later, I grabbed my coat, slipped on my shoes, slid my keys into my pocket, and greeted Birch as he came through the door (strategically holding my hands out to keep an extremely wet Olive from jumping up on me). Birch then did what was perfectly acceptable for him to do and yet completely unbelievable to a hungry 8-month pregnant lady—he began disrobing out of his wet clothes. Fifteen minutes and several fidgety paces later, we were out the door, rain pouring down but not caring, my only thought being, “Phở, phở, phở, phở, phở.”
Then I made the mistake I’ll never make again—I went down Moffett ten minutes before six towards downtown. Only two cars behind the line it started—the seemingly endless repetition of trains pulling into the Mountain View Station and trains pulling out. Now, if you’ve never been at this spot before, let me explain the order of the light changes. If a train is going to move, the light headed from downtown and across Central Expressway turns green to allow the few cars that could fit to move out of danger from the trains. Then both directions of Central traffic are allowed to go, then the light favors our direction, the one going into downtown from Moffett, or, at least, it should. However, when it came to be our turn, another train signaled the gates to go down and our light never changed. Instead, the cars opposite were allowed to move, then Central, then… another train signaled the gates yet again. This pattern continued for literally another fifteen minutes as Birch and I watched with envy all the other people that were allowed to get on with their lives and forget this intersection even existed. Indeed, all the other cars rotated so perfectly, I doubt they ever realized that there was a section of us who hadn’t moved since they left the restaurant or the office or wherever it was they’d come from.
And then it struck—Pregnancy. Without warning I felt a tear roll down my cheek. Then another. My cheeks were wet with tears and I realized that I was crying over not being able to go through an intersection (although to be fair, my stomach was at this point in actual pain from hunger). I could feel Birch watching me out of the corner of my eye trying to decided whether he should try comforting me or not. He opted not to, which was the right decision as a loving hand or a comforting glance would have set me over a dangerously embarrassing precipice. At minute thirty-five our light turned green and stayed green long enough for Birch and I and a few more lucky souls to get through and finally make our way to our destinations.
We parked, walked to the restaurant, and sat down. I ordered a small number sixteen as usual and when it came the tension left. The ridiculous not-so-well hidden idiocies within pregnancies’ tantalizing guise were all-too apparent and the only thing to do was laugh, and that’s what we did.