With Cal, hanging holiday lights at the City of Books. Cal's on the ladder, jingle of the knot of keys latched to his belt loop, and I'm down below keeping the strand untangled. Turn, and to the left of me, hauling stacks of books onto a table, is that young brunette from the Remainders team. She's in profile, and lo and behold: a pregnant belly.
Though I've always loved children, though they've always loved me, I've never really wanted to have children. I was always more child than mother. Blanket in arms for most of my childhood, forever wanting to hold onto something soft to make me comfortable. Sometimes I wonder if it's all those blanket years that make me so full of wanting, now. Wanting that next publication, wanting that next comment on my last silly status update, wanting to fill myself up with cheese. Wanting, sometimes, with nothing on the other end of the sentence - just wanting.
I don't remember how old I was when I stopped carrying the blanket around all the time. Backy Dacky was its name, and it was pink, white and blue knit zigzag stripes that faded with all the holding, faded and got full of holes. As I got older, I used to cut tiny strands from the loose ends of the holes and knot them around necklaces to hang, hidden, under my shirts. I'm not even going to tell you about the time I tried to hide Backy Dacky at the bottom of my carry-on bag to take it with me on my trip to Europe, and I'm not going to tell you how old I was.
Looking at the pregnant Remainders girl - I don't even remember her name - I'm struck by how similar that belly seems to my blanket of long ago. That holding. How lovely, to walk around the bookstore, to go about your workday, with all that joy, all that fear, all that miracle held inside.