Happiness One Ohh One: Questions

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A pregnant woman sunning her tummy at the beach.

I have a question for you.

But I'm going to ask it at the end of this story. A story that provides a brief account of my experience as a pregnant person. A person who values the microcasm that is the grocery store. The store which provides the setting for this story.

For the sake of expediency, we begin at the end of the first trimester:

Month 3
I come just short of saying, "Ahem!" in an effort to attract the attention of strangers. I want everyone to know that I'm pregnant even though I'm doing everything to avoid wearing the clothes that would indicate I'm pregnant. I'm somewhat surprised that cheese and canned goods continue to be stocked fastidiously, without a glimpse in my direction.

Month 5
I strategically rub my belly and breathe heavily to suggest the real reason I resemble a small whale.  To my delight, the audience is receptive. There are offerings to cut my deli meat to whatever radical specifications (mood swings) I have. "Do you know what IT is?" a new acquaintance asks while handing me Black Forest Ham.

Month 7
There are now routine overtures to help me navigate the same aisles I've been walking for years. "Getting ready for the big day?" I hear a voice say. I bat an eye toward the dairy case and there's an offer to reach for a gallon before I can even open the door.

Month 9
At check-out, confetti rains down upon me. Sirens are sounded. "When are we gonna have this baby?" the cashier asks. "When I had my first . . . "  Eventually, she picks up the phone and cries: "Carry-out! Aisle Five! Can we get some HELP?"

There's a year-long window before conversations revert to their old format, especially when I'm shopping alone. It seems we are forever looking for a way in, for an excuse to chat with strangers, and even with acquaintances.

But we don't need an excuse, because it is my firm belief that EVERYONE has a big belly, that bundle of some kind of joy they'd love to talk about.

The question is, are you willing to go beyond, "Paper or plastic?" to see it? 



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