Full circle: A day last week

It’s humid as fuck today. This morning, the sliding glass door was covered in sweat from desert-heat mixed with monsoon. It’s getting harder to sleep, the baby plays a fun, new game called “poke the cervix.” I think it wants out, too. The books lie when they say the baby becomes less active as room runs out. Sometimes I wish we could both be still. Sometimes I wish I could give it more space. I never want the baby to feel trapped. Ever. Not in creation, birth or life.
I’m not sure why, but I thought it would be a good idea to take the light rail today. I’ve been avoiding it because it’s so hot out and after walking to the platform, then walking to work, I feel totally drained. Pat’s been picking me up, though, when I do take it, so it’s a one-way morning adventure.
It’s humid as fuck today, did I mention that? And I took the train. By the time I reached the platform, the closest seat next to three “drunk, Indian hobos” (their words not mine) looked like a fucking lazy-boy. The others were too. far. can’t. make. it. So I plopped down just as my companions pulled a blueberry Steel Reserve from a bag. Dear God, they make that?
He squints in my direction, points to the silver and blue ribboned can: “Do you mind?”
“Not at all,” I say and wave it off, thinking how polite he was for at least asking. There are a lot of drunks on the light rail: rude, belligerent, degrading, harassing drunks. These were not them. These were the god-bless-you-I-just-want-to-shake-your-hand-and-have-a-conversation drunks.
“How’s the baby?!” The woman on the far end asked.
“The baby is great!” I answer.
“How long … How far along are you?”
“Almost 8 months.”
And she gets a big grin on her face, her round cheeks bowl outward, her turquoise and coral earrings swish, “That’s really great,” she nods. “Boy or a girl?”
“Oh, we don’t know! We are waiting.” The trio lights up, voices overlapping. All three are nodding.
I wonder what Pat would think if he saw me sitting here talking to them. His very pregnant partner and his unborn baby, sweating alongside three “drunk hobos.” But he’s the one that came home one night reporting that women, especially new moms need friends, social outings, interaction. “You need 40,000 words a day,” he states like my brain can handle one more thing to keep track of: 200 kegles, 160 pelvic rocks, $150 a week for daycare for a baby that’s not even born yet; eat 2 eggs for 12g of protein and at least 100g from about 8 different types of food a day and liver once a week. Who eats liver? I just want a cookie and a glorious cup of coffee and a really dark beer, a nitro, a beer milkshake. 2 months. That’s the only number that matters to me now. 2 months until we meet our baby.
“Where are you from?” the polite one asks.
“California, originally, but I’ve lived all over the country.”
“Ah, I’m from Simi Valley,” he says rubbing his thumb and forefingers together a few times.
“Yeah, I hear that. It’s expensive.”
“But, I was a cowboy for a while on the reservation, herding sheep and…” he revs his hands in the air, “driving my four-wheeler and then I joined the Marines and served in Iraq and toured the world for 7 years.”
“Do you have names?” The woman cuts in.
“Jack for a boy and Olivia for a girl,” I say. And the three of them light up again and nod in unison.
“I have a son,” the polite man says, “named Dustin. I wanted a girl. I grew up surrounded by boys. What’s your name?”
“Rachel,” I say.
“Ahh, that’s my ex’s name: Rachel. This is my girlfriend, Sarah,” he points to the woman on the end. She smiles exposing her small, white teeth, “and this is my uncle. My ‘Shi-da’ that’s how you say uncle in Navajo.” Shi-da holds out a rough hand, his finger nails dirty, his eye swollen shut from a punch and two bruised veins snake like ore through stone on his skin. I take his hand and he clutches mine lightly, gentlemanly, “God bless you,” he slurs.
“You know, women are amazing,” the polite one says. “Man, women… I was there when my son was born, when I saw his head, holy shit, and I looked at my wife pushing and yelled ‘FUCK, DOES THAT HURT?’ and she screamed ‘WHAT DO YOU THINK?!’and men, we act all though, but that … that was amazing”
Shi-da takes my hand again, asks my name. “God bless you,” he says.
Sarah takes a long pull of beer, gets up and pulls a pair of rose-gold earrings from her backpack. She walks over to me, holds the earrings against the light. The two small circles hang like moons.
“Did you make these?” I ask as she places them in my palm.
“Yes,” she beams. “Let me show you my charm.” Her arm outstretched in front of me, she points to a long silver strand decorated with turquoise, a buffalo coin and 3 small silver charms, “one for each of my daughters,” she says. “They are beautiful.”
“I have no doubt,” I nod.
“You wanna see my charms!” the polite one insists and lifts up the back of his dirty, white shirt revealing a large bandage in the middle of his back “I’ve been stabbed, shot, fragged …”
Sarah waves him off, “yeah, I changed that this morning. You’re fine.”
“I’m going to put these on,” I say, taking out my studs and pulling the gold through my ears.
“Oh, they look good on you!” Sara beams. “They match your skin and your lips!” She runs her finger sloppily over her own.
“That’s so nice,” the polite one says. “Full circle. What comes around…” Though I’m unsure what I’ve offered them in return.
The bells from the train ding. As it approaches, the three of them stay seated, take another few sips to ride out the day on their own time.
“Right on,” Sarah nods as I get up. “Peace.”

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