A sleek black minivan was parked between our houses after work. It did not leave as expected, rather, it returned day after day. A paper tag protected by a sleeve of plastic was attached on the back, stating the expiration date at the end of June. The minivan was here to stay.
We saw the neighbors boarding their new cruiser and all of the bags and baskets that are apparently required to take a baby anywhere. The baby was strapped to his daddy’s chest, supervising the undertaking and keeping an eye on his mother who stood nearby in obvious discomfort. She appeared to be 12 months pregnant.
Hipsters are trying to extend the average gestational period. Or so I have heard. It could be fake news. In any case, our neighbor just had a baby and then was instantly pregnant with another one in a phenomenon that will make their offspring “Irish twins” when the second one is born. The timeline is unclear but it definitely seems that they have been continuously pregnant for the past two years.
The neighbors started out like us, very cool and modern, engaged in work and exercise, friends, and family. We resolved to share a pizza and a few cold adult beverages but never got around to scheduling a date because all of a sudden, wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am, they were pregnant and went underground. They emerged this Spring, eyes weak and blinking under the bright sun, pushing a stroller with a round faced ooling, drooling baby boy and with a belly popping out like a snake that just ate Mousezilla.
We walked up to the new van and B said, “Looks like you are just missing the decals on the back.”
He was referring to the ever-popular cookie cutter stickers of each family member and pet, usually something like two parents next to a half-sized sticker of toddler or two, with the outline of a dog wagging its tail in familial bliss.
The couple smiled together in a wholesome unity, clear that they were of one mind, and the man said, “That’s a great idea. We’re just glad we have room for everyone now, even the dog.”
They will leave the neighborhood soon, there isn’t enough room as it is for the current occupants of their home, let alone when the babies start to stretch out and grow. Already, they are planting petunias and Hosta’s, laying mulch, trimming trees and power washing their siding. It’s just a matter of time before the FOR SALE sign goes into their front yard and they pack their lives into a U-Haul truck. When they move, it will be with a family double in size than when they moved next door to us.
Meanwhile, we remain in place, at the same address with the same number of residents, exactly three cats and two humans, as when we came to town two years ago. We will be just as childless but still happy, healthy, well-rested and living relatively uncomplicated, minivan free lives. For now, anyways.