When I was pregnant with Max, I lived down in the heart of Denver. I loved it there. We were renting a beautiful, shabby brick house for a ridiculously low amount, and often I would toss three-year-old Tre in a stroller and meander among gorgeous old homes, agog at the beauty and old trees and all the CHARM they have just lying around down there. It was also very, very nice to be able to say casually, "Oh, we live near Washington Park," rather than muttering the name of this suburb that I can't seem to escape. Yes, I am very shallow.
But easily the best part of living there was the farmer's market. Each Saturday I would strap Tre back in that stroller, meet up with my mom, and we would walk down to the farmer's market (she walked, I waddled). The very first thing I bought, the minute we entered that maelstrom of people and smells and food, was a large limeade. It was amazing, an icy cold cupful of mouth-puckering lime sweetness. I've always craved fruit flavors when I'm pregnant, and especially citrus, so in the middle of all the heat of summer and puffiness of pregnancy, this limeade was The Best Thing Ever. I kept trying to make my mom try it, but after her first sip, she would make a face at me and shake her head. So we would wander among the stalls, and I would feel my hands and feet swell in the heat, the way they do when you're one thousand months pregnant, and I'd sip my drink, letting it fill my whole head with bright, clean lime flavor.
Max was born toward the end of August, and as soon as I was back on my feet again I made the trip back to the farmer's market. This time I had an infant strapped to my chest as well as Tre in the stroller, but I was still making a beeline for that large blue cooler of limeade. I stood in line for my dripping cool cup, my mouth watering, and could barely force myself to wait through the payment and exchange of pleasantries for my first drink, like a nice, normal person.
It tasted awful.
Sour and watery, it was just awful. I thrust the cup at my mom, insisting she taste just how bad it was. She resisted, but I can be
pushy compelling, and eventually she relented and took a sip.
"Yeah, that's how it always tastes," she declared, handing it back to me. I tried it again, but it was nothing like the lime-drenched elixir of just a few weeks prior. I was bewildered, and after a few minutes of back-and-forth with Mom ("It wasn't like this. Seriously. TASTE it." "I DID taste it, and that's EXACTLY what it was like." "No, really, Mom. TASTE it." "No, really, Kira. NO."), I realized that the only difference was my no-longer-pregnant taste buds. The same loss of super power that had left me (mercifully) unable to detect the scent of SOCK from three rooms away had also turned the INTENSE knob way down on how everything tasted. You know, to normal.
I've been thinking about that limeade recently, and not just because LORD, does that sound good. It's unsettling to think about my senses being that unreliable. In the morning, as I eat my grapefruit (seriously, THE BEST grapefruit ever), I roll it around on my tongue and wonder how it would taste if I weren't pregnant. It's puzzling, to think that this world I perceive may not, in some ways, be what I think it is at all.
Yesterday I did something stupid. It wasn't a big deal, really, but it was genuinely stupid. However, by the time I was done processing the idea of it, I was in the bath, covering my face with my hands, and crying. Ugly crying. Clay sat on the sink and tried to comfort me while I apologized and then told him not to look at me. Repeatedly. The boys (who were supposed to be in bed) took turns sneaking up the stairs to listen outside the door. It wasn't pretty.
Somehow, in my mind, I'd connected the one stupid thing I'd done to Every Other Aspect of my life. And all evidence pointed to the fact that I was a FAILURE. Look, I could try to walk you through it all, but it was equal parts boring and pathetic. Let's just sum it up like this: I had a total hormonal pregnant lady breakdown.
Today my eyes are puffy and sore, and my face looks a little...off kilter. I am just too old to recover quickly from the ugly cry anymore. I touch my tender eyelids and mentally review the issues that had me so hopeless yesterday.
I wonder what they would taste like if I wasn't pregnant?