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Apathy Girl and Other Tales

Musings of the Overly Naive Cynic

*names have been changed.

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I wish I could say something like: my Father was killed by an infant in the Great War. Yes, I know, a terrible tragedy, but I’ll see my way through. Or: my religion doesn’t believe in children, intelligent design means that we were designed already intelligent. Alas, I am left holding only the truth: I do not like children. Except, it is more than that. I cannot stand to be in the same room, size omitting, the same building, as a child. They smell, they scream, they cry, they are always covered in slobber and snot, they rely on you, they must be entertained, they don’t know anything, they are expensive. They have always seemed like a waste of time, of a body, of resources. I would rather have a husband than a child, and the two things seem to be mutually exclusive. I’ve yet to meet a man who sees his wife the same way after she had popped out a tax write off.

On the other hand, my dog smells great, only barks at intruders, doesn’t slobber, knows how to sit, stay, heal, lay down, and put away his toys, and he is only three months old. He lets me sleep through the night. I can have a husband and a dog, if you ever need alone time, you can just put the dog outside, and they don’t need constant supervision. I’ll take my dog over any child any day. And until Aleisha lost the baby, I never felt ashamed of this fact.

I still do not feel ashamed of this fact. But Aleisha does not love dogs. She loved Jessica, her five-month gestated fetus. And now Aleisha is empty, devoid of life, even her own. She and her husband, Nathan, came to visit a couple of weeks ago and at the breakfast table I could not help but sit and stare at her. She did not eat, she drank black coffee and chewed on her nails. I cannot fathom what she felt. Empty? Dead? Caffeinated comes to mind, but I know that is trite. All the things I wanted to say were not right, “at least you’ll not have to rip open your body in a month” “you’ll save a fortune on college education” “lets start drinking.” The last one may have worked, admittedly.

I watched her, knowing that I was not ashamed of the fact that I did not like children. I was ashamed knowing that I did not care that Aleisha lost the baby. That I judged her for how attached she was to this…thing that was living inside of her. I thought she was ignorant for shaping her idea of self around the fact that she could live for another person, a person with less education, less earning power, less work ethic, than herself. I felt bad for Nathan, that he had lost his wife. She had cooked for him, cleaned for him, provided him with companionship, intimacy. Once upon a time, he had done the same for her. I sympathized more for their failing relationship than failed family planning. I felt bad that she wanted her body to be ripped apart by a creature that would later probably hate her.

I felt ashamed that none of these thoughts bothered me. That it was only false etiquette that kept these thoughts from becoming words. Words that would hurt Aleisha, irreparably damage our friendship. However, words that I believe in, feel were true.

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