We take our first walk to town on a lovely fall day, sun shining and the air almost warm. Just her face peeks out from pink blankets and a pink hat but she wrinkles her forehead when the breeze hits it. I pull the blue stroller hood lower.
Maybe it’s the crispness in the air or maybe it’s because I haven’t been out much, but everything is bright, and clear, and interesting. The leaves crunch underfoot and you never know how uneven a sidewalk is until every jolt of the stroller wakes an almost sleeping infant and everyone I pass I watch.
At the bakery the bakers come out from behind the counter to see us. I ask for two sticky buns and they already know her name. It ran on the front page of the paper the day she was born.
We stop at one coffee shop and art gallery looking for beans but they don’t have any. The old woman at one of the tables leaves her mug, comes to admire.
She asks if it’s a boy or a girl looking out of that cloud of pink. I wonder but answer: most definately a girl. She asks if I’m breastfeeding and I let go the fact that it’s a rather personal question she’s asking and really none of her business. And she helps us back out the door, struggling with its heaviness.
At the second coffee shop, where they do sell beans, a boy comments on the stroller.
“Hey that’s quite a baby carriage,” he says; then, “oh, there’s a baby in there!”
Yes, because people make a habit of pushing strollers into coffee shops without babies in them?
And then we’re walking home, she and I, and she finally falls all the way asleep.
And there’s coffee beans and sticky buns and bread in the storage space underneath her and she looks so quiet in her blankets and everything is brighter in the crisp fall air.