There is a baby wearing skinny jeans on her fat legs. Sausages stuffed into denim. And little puma runners on her puffy, soft feet. How inappropriate.
She is rocked to calmness on her mom’s swaying hip. Mom also wears matching skinny jeans and runners: she dressed her baby as herself as a pleasant surprise to the rest of her Moms Group. She’s eating salad that she bought for 1.39/100 grams from an organic grocery store. Out of a compostable container, with a biodegradable fork made of corn.
She chats about the goddamn weather with another woman, then covers her mouth. She tries not to use curse words when her infant is listening.
The other woman laughs, nods, holds her own baby, a little boy about the same age as the other one with the sausage legs.
His neck is practicing holding up that heavy head, those weighty cheeks. It takes a lot of work, but he is patient and revels in each success and new independence that he gains.
Baby frowns, becoming frustrated because he wants to sneeze but his sneeze won’t come. He is too young to reason about why he feels as he does. He doesn’t even know why he is frustrated, but anyone watching can guess.
On the other side of the world, there is a baby wearing nothing on her thin legs. And no footwear on her already-hardened feet. How inappropriate.
Baby is rocked to calmness on her mom’s swaying hip, listening to the jingling of aunty’s ankelets as she sweeps outside their home. Watching her cousins drawing their dreams in the dust with sticks.
Until wind lifts the dust and their dreams into the air, and everyone shrieks and wraps their dupattas around their faces to filter the air, and runs indoors. Dust dances in the thick air through a thin sheet that separates inside the house from outside.
Until rain starts and beats the dust into the ground. It starts light, then comes heavy. Not only smothering the dust that was in the air, but pulling and tearing up the packed dirt that was patted so firmly by so many human feet, including baby’s.
The cousins shriek again, for a different reason, and tear out of the home into the downpour. Mom doesn’t have the energy to stop them, and also has a little bit of delight in her chest. She stands with Aunty in the doorway, beneath a ledge, watching the girls grip one anothers’ hands and spin in a circle. Their braids fly and water runs down their faces, shining their gold noserings. Their dresses are soaked through as their brown feet stamp up brown mud.
Baby waves her hands and legs, trying to also dance or be more involved. But she’s also happy to watch from mom’s hip.
A leak in the ledge allows a little bit of water through, and it starts to stream onto the part in Mom’s hair. Mom steps back out of the way, so that the stream is in front of baby.
This is the most marvelous thing that baby has ever seen. She has almost no memory of things she’s seen before, so everything is exciting, especially this stream of light and water that is happening right in front of her. Baby waves her hands and touches it, while the cousins continue to dance. And the only sound is of rain smashing into tin roofs.