All these things I left behind.

Even after all this time, I’m still not used to the grind of the city. The ferry is nice, but the subway is terrifying, and I know she’s been annoyed with me every time I’ve shoved her in a yellow cab. But she is my wife, dammit, and I’m not going to let her sit next to vagrants and, worse, nine-to-fivers. Especially not while she’s carrying my child.

In its way, it is amazing how beautiful it made her. There’s even more confidence [if that’s possible], and she hasn’t once complained about the weight. No, she weathers it all, like it was her true calling in life, like in one stroke she can make up all the hurt and sadness of life – not replace, but balance the loss she’s felt. And women balancing things shall not be fucked with, especially on Christmas day.

So, she gets me on that screaming metal tube, because she has somewhere to take, and I’m not supposed to know, and none of my kicking or screaming or hickish upbringing will stop her. And yes, I love her for that, too.

It’s Christmas in the city. It looks so funny with the snow. Not cleaner, necessarily, but dressed up… ready to be taken someplace nice, for a change. I reminds me too much of myself, back in my 20’s, with my black coat, putting me in a nicer package than I deserved.

We get off at a ferry. She laughs, because I don’t know which one, and then admits we’re going to see the statue, which had just reopened a few years before. I’d been, once, in high school, but it had already been locked up then, the symbol of freedom off limits to its people. Hilarious, and sad.

She was a little further along than expected, and it was quickly apparent the stairs were a no-go. She almost cried when she realized, and I held her, and reminded her it was just the hormones, and it wasn’t a big deal. I tried to smile to make her feel better, which she laughed at, and we both decided to play it off as something too touristy for us to do. And we’d treat the whole thing as some strange mistake, which we realized was below us right as we’d actually begun to do it. Dodged a bullet, is how we’d tell it.

It was hardly the only reason we were visiting. We had come to see her family for the holidays after all, and though neither of us said so, to start making the plans to move. There was life to be brought-up here, and despite my little discomfort, nothing had felt so right to me in the world. But she was unsure, not because of any doubts in herself – she’d said, prior to us even getting together, that this was the place she wanted to raise her children – but rather because my looks of trepidation still slipped out every time I had to navigate a crowd to cross a street. I tried to reassure her. I imagined, by the baby shower, I’d probably have her convinced.

Merry Christmas.