I had a brain meltdown today. It was one of those moments where my impulse to blurt out my first thought of "Are you fucking insane?!" was countered with "Just smile and shut up." which I'm sure ran across my face at lightning speed. I never used to be very good at the verbal restraint, I seem to have improved. But for hours after I felt traumatized, in a way, because - I had no one to tell. I had no one to share a knowing glance that said - we need coffee and gossip NOW. So dear blog...
There's a Mom at the school, she's slightly awkward but nice and sincere. A tad clingy with a hint of desperate. She told me of having grand mal seizures around April and I felt sympathy for her because that must be dreadful and terrifying and being on medication that makes you sluggish is depressing. She lives close to the poverty line and I don't know if she's on public assistance, but I would assume it's likely*.
We are not close, we are acquainted. I learned to be an acquaintance of people like that because they soon become all consuming black holes of need. I prefer less drama in my life now. She stinks of burgeoning drama.
A couple months ago, I noticed she had a man standing with her to collect her daughter after school. He was small, weedy and looked malnourished. A pint-sized, leathered Chav. She's nearly six foot tall, so they stood out as an oddity. The gossip ran that she'd met him via a friend and had been texting each other for a while. He's from another city, came a long way to meet her. He was staying with her. She beamed with happiness. Who am I to deny anyone a bit happiness?
I've noticed he wasn't around the past few weeks, but the mom didn't seem crushed to her soul or anything, although there was one day she left the school, pink nosed and sniffling...I didn't make eye contact. Call me a coward, but I had an idea what it was about and I wasn't very interested in swirling around that tub drain for a few hours.
Yesterday, while picking up the kids tall mom was there, happy and animated and I listened as another freind talked with her, mentioning larger trouser sizes. There is only one way a conversation about getting bigger in the waistline doesn't result in tears but smiles. It was that moment my face must have looked alarmed. I was telling myself, no. No, don't fucking say it...
"She's going to have a baby!" my friend said to me, slightly more wide eyed than normal. She may as well have handed me a plate of hissing snakes for my instant reaction was shock, revulsion and horror. I'm not even sure I said anything. Maybe "Oh!" like I'd just been goosed. "I'm 9 weeks," mom beamed. Is it cruel and heartless of me that my first thought was - there's still time to fix this mess?
Of course there is absolutely nothing I can do or say to her. Nothing. We aren't friends. She is a train wreck a-coming and I have to stand back and let her pass by. I do not look forward to the many months of seeing her struggle, I wish there was a way I didn't have to witness it, but I will. Bite my tongue a lot. Bring a book and use it as a shield of indifference.
I feel dreadful and guilty and annoyed. Yes annoyed! I know it's very selfish of me to be annoyed about someone's pregnancy especially when they are so pleased about the situation. That just annoys me even more. Doesn't she see the pitfalls and traps of this? Doesn't she see the many, many years of pain, argument and disappointment coming her way? Am I just seeing all the gloom of this? Where is the bright light? What am I missing?
Oh, yes. I forget. She's a black hole of need. I will not get sucked in...
I feel like Cassandra.
(Not that there's anything wrong with being on welfare. I've known people who've been in hard times, and used the welfare system to educate themselves, gain trade skills, get descent care for their kids and came out the other side with careers and be amazing productive people. It's a shame to see welfare abused and earn a bad name and I'd like to see more people who've used it properly to better themselves come forward and sing the system's praises. I hold no prejudices against folks on welfare unless they are lazy slobs who milk the system. I do not think this is Tall Mom. She's surviving.)