we are insured, once again.

Excellent, Smithers.

rubs preternaturally long fingers together with smug satisfaction.  then remembers to thank you all for being a kick-ass wall of support, replete with good advice.  i didn’t yell once.  i was very, very pleasant…in a Christopher Walken kind of way.

miraculously, between my measured, date-laden, “i’m sure there’s been some sort of mistake” conversation with the person who answered the phone, and her three minute disappearance to “check my file more thoroughly,” an email *appeared* on said file from Guelph magically reinstating our insurance in full.  well, bless my soul.  and i always thought i had terrible timing.

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we walked into work, though, as we were unaware of our fortuitous and retroactive reinstatement until i terrorized their asses business hours opened for the day.  it was a beautiful end-of-summer morning here, golden and not quite hot, and the route between the sitter’s house and the university follows the local trail carved out by government when they tore up all the railway tracks fifteen years ago…a biking and hiking path lined with bullrushes and wildflowers.  it’s a vein of oasis through the middle of the city, and lovely.  we should walk to work all the time, and have decided that until the cold weather comes, we may try.  so we ought to thank The Cooperators for a fine wake-up call, really.

but if we do keep walking, i will need to lighten the load in the satchel i compulsively cart to and from work with me, the one that houses half my worldly belongings and a few small parasitic animals, likely.  because the damn thing was so heavy this morning that i couldn’t bear to leave the stroller at the sitter’s after we dropped Oscar off, and instead used the stroller to cart my bag to work.  effective, yes, if a little odd-looking.

joggers and bikers approaching us on the trail wore puzzled expressions as they gradually realized there was no baby in the buggy.  i was tempted to shout out, jovially, “oh whoops! did we lose someone?”

but every time, my tongue shut upon itself, hard.

i thought of Niobe’s empty stroller post from last month, and the shudder i felt as her story unfolded, my own expectations and assumptions and wounds lining up across and alongside hers.  i thought of the first night we spent in what is now our home, three days after Finn’s death.  we sat, for a bit, on the floor of the empty room we’d intended to be his, his urn in my hands.  i thought of that feeling, that shocked, stunned emptiness, that sense of having fallen down a rabbit hole that no one else could even see, because it was so terrible to behold.

i cannot joke about an absent baby, even now.  the panic still comes flooding back, makes me feel shaky and vulnerable and naked before god, as if i am taunting fate.  and perhaps turning some other grieving parent inside out at the sight of my empty stroller as i walk along looking for all the world oblivious, entitled, unbroken.

i will carry my bag the next time we walk.