I Think I Made A Wrong Turn Back There Somewhere

A View from the Couch

Life has a strange way of slowing down just enough from time-to-time to take a mental picture and write 477 words about it. Like the snapshot I was able to capture when taking my trash out the other morning; a woman pregnant with her fourth child, wearing a wearied look, as her husband, no more than six months home from prison yelled at their children to speed up or walk to school. The look on her face said it all, “How did I get here?” as her children walked out of the house one by one in reverse chronological order.

Her only son burst through the door, jacket half-on, book bag half-closed, but he was fully charged as he ran past her and said something that sounded like “Bye mom”. Next up, was the middle child, a daughter the spitting image of her dad that looked the perfect schoolgirl part, with her uniform neatly assembled, glasses, pigtails and book bag. She stopped to kiss her mom and rub her belly before entering one of the family’s SUVs. Finally mom’s mini-me dragged herself through the door, wearing a look on her face too advanced for a 10-year-old, she’s already bitter and angry at the world for who knows what. She ignores her mom, throws me her usual look of disgust and walks past daddy’s please for her to speed up.

Our normal small talk shrinks as I zero in on her stomach and she watches what has become her life close the doors and drive off leaving her standing in the yard undoubtedly thinking that she made a wrong turn back there somewhere. Her husband is unemployed and a two-time felon, she’s underemployed and about to be a four-time mom, I don’t think this was her plan when she shook hands with the president of her college when she received her degree way back before she lost her smile.

We both watch the car disappear around the corner, take a glance at the clouds forming in the sky (no rainbow in sight), before we exchange greetings and she says to me, “Don’t have any kids.” I smile, nod and say, “I don’t plan on it”, as she places a hand on her hip, turns on her heels and makes her way back into the house and I make my way through my yard on the way to work.

I’m sure the next few minutes we both wondered how much different our lives could have been had we made different decisions in our younger days. Sure, I’ve made some wrong turns, but I’m good where I am. However, I’m sure the thought of trading in her husband and kids for a few morning smiles crosses her mind far more than I think of having a Teef Jr., but for that moment, we stopped to watch our emotions sway…

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