There I am standing in front of my apartment building waiting for my transport to take me to work. This woman, from the same building, also waits for her transport. We share a smile on certain days, and if either of our rides is late, we exchange ‘Hellos.’ Today, she comes over and asks me if I have children. I tell her no and look in the direction of my ride. She exclaims “Oh!” and asks if it’s fibroids. I feel a nudge and see my uterus standing between us. It positions itself like Kungfu Panda. I tell her I’m fine and she says I must pray. That she would pray too.
He and I go to get groceries. We meet his ex-colleague, his wife, and their two kids at the supermarket. I had met her two years ago and that was also the last time I had seen her. We ask each other mundane questions and give each other mundane answers. Between every question and answer are long pauses where I search my brain for the next polite question. It’s her turn now. She asks me where my kids are. I say I don’t have any. Her face turns pale. I tell her it’s OK and that I’m enjoying my life. But she can’t bring back her smile. I can see she’s trying. I feel something cushiony and find myself standing inside an upright coffin while she carefully places a wreath on me that says ‘Incomplete.’
The last time I went through a similar phase was when I was unmarried.
“Aren’t married yet? You know you are nearing 30, which means you are almost out of the marriage market.”
“You should do this religious fast. You’ll also lose some weight.”
“You know all men are looking for fair brides. Have you heard of this new gold facial?”
For all those who are concerned:
Let me ask you politely to exit my bedroom. Then let me hold your hand gently and bring you to my living room and serve you some tea. Before you bite into that arrowroot biscuit, remember to first dip it in the tea. It tastes better. It’ll also keep your head from vibrating too much. When you have slurped the tea down, let me take you to the door. I can see you do not wish to leave. I can see you are looking longingly at the rooms you couldn’t explore. So let me stand a bit closer, pat your shoulder, and whisper in your ear that you should always knock before entering because I usually shoot trespassers.