Whenever I wake up to go to the bathroom (again), and look over at my husband blissfully sleeping on his stomach with one leg hiked up like he’s leaping hurdles in his dreams, I feel like taking the gigantic pillow I use as a prop for my aching back and hitting him in the head. Whenever people look at my belly and murmur, “Seven months?! But you’re so small!” I envision duct-taping a watermelon to their stomach and forcing them to lug it around for weeks on end, and then letting them tell me just how “small” fifteen pounds actually is.
But the crazy part is, this fearsome aggression has extended even beyond pregnancy.
Two weekends ago, the stray dog we would officially keep if she didn’t have a fetish for nibbling on little old ladies’ ankles, was attacked by our neighbor’s four sheep dogs while hunting on our land. The dog, Dingo, is about the size of a fox and has no way to defend herself against a pack that size. When my husband -- who was outside working on our well -- saw what was happening, the oldest dog out of the four had Dingo in her jaws and was shaking her back and forth, trying to crack her neck. My husband took off running and yelling, but the dog still wouldn’t release ours. He threw his drill at the dog and missed, which I was later disappointed about (see what I mean?), but the dog was spooked and released Dingo from her jaws.
I didn’t know any of this had happened until I went for my daily walk and saw that Dingo’s coat was matted with saliva and Randy explained the incident. Immediately, this empowering fury surged through my veins, and I snapped, “Well, I’m gonna go up there and give [insert neighbor’s name] a piece of my mind!”
That sentence, which I have threatened pretty often in the past trimester and a half, is always guaranteed to make my husband turn white. Randy shook his head. “That’s not going to change what happened,” he said. “Plus, it’s not like [insert neighbor’s name] can do anything about it.”
“But [insert neighbor’s name] needs to know what his [or her] dogs are capable of!” I cried. “He [or she] always told me they would never hurt a fly!”
My husband sawed off a three foot piece of PVC pipe and passed it to me. “Here,” he said, “this’ll keep them away.”
Wielding that PVC pipe like a baseball bat, I went trucking up the road with my pregnant belly swaying like a metronome monitoring my wrath. Dingo was obviously unharmed as she pricked alongside me with a drooling grin and wagging tail, but that did not matter: nobody dares lay a finger on my husband, my babies, or my strays!
As soon as I crested the hill, the four dogs came running down from the house while barking and snarling as they have every day for the past two years, but this time they did not come close enough to hit (which I would’ve only done out of self-defense, I swear). Still, one of these walks I’m hoping the mongrels will come chomping after me or Dingo when my pockets just-so-happen to be weighted down with more throwing stars and nunchucks than Le Femme Nikita.
Maybe then I’ll get lucky.
Last week, I drove to Green Hills to have lunch with some dear writer friends. While driving past Cookeville, I briefly contemplated running my Jeep through the carwash, but figured the pouring rain would surely mask the eight months’ of grime accumulated from gunning it up and down our pot-hole ridden dirt road.
Of course, the rain stopped right outside the swanky part of Nashville. I am used to driving vehicles that teeter on the brink of clunkers and even take a certain amount of pride in having driven, during college, a $500 ex-gangster Beretta with peeling tinted windows and chrome rims worth more than the car itself, but this was a nice restaurant (the kind of restaurant that has reading glasses on hand if you can’t read the menu), and I felt a little car-conscious as I circled my rattling Jeep around and around the parking lot, trying to wedge it into a space.
After wasting seconds I did not have to spare, I cried out in triumph when I saw a parking space in between a bran-spanking new BMW that was parked sideways and a champagne-colored SUV. I knew I could make it work; what I didn’t know was if I could get out of my vehicle once I had parked it. My mind briefly flashed with the image of me trying to wedge my watermelon stomach through an opening that was three inches wide, but I rationalized that Baby Girl’s gonna have to get used to those tight fits and it might be good for her to get in some practice.
I didn’t think much of it when the owner of the Beemer exited her vehicle after grabbing some Christmas presents from the backseat, but then she stood there in her clunky high heels and frizzy red hair and just watched me! Granted, I look like a kid since I can’t see very far over the steering wheel and my Jeep is a little worse for our pot-hole ridden road, but I wasn’t the one who had parked sideways!
I could feel that empowering fury surging through my veins again, which I imagine makes my skin turn green and muscles bulge beneath my stretchy-band pants, and I knew that my pregnancy aggression had taken over. Angling my rearview mirror, I watched an expression of repulsion slither across the woman’s features, and it was all I could do not to sideswipe my crusty Jeep down the length of her slick Beemer.
But I didn’t.
Instead, I unspooled my scarf from sweaty neck and whipped off my seatbelt. I pushed the button to lower my window (yes, my Jeep has automatic windows; it’s not entirely luxury-free) and leaned out. Looking that sneering woman right in her carefully made-up face, I smiled with my teeth oozing saccharine sweetness and said, “You wanna straighten your car up for me?”
The woman gestured to the truck beside her car while using the Christmas present. “I can’t,” she whined. “I’d have no room to get out.”
No room to get out! Your stomach’s not carrying a fifteen pound watermelon!
Although these two sentences roared through my head, I did not utter them. Instead, I just nodded, pushed my window back up, and surged my Jeep forward without being as careful about her BMW as I had been before.
It took three minutes to maneuver my belly through that three inch space in between her vehicle and mine. I was hoping the woman would still be there watching me whenever I finally did squeeze out through, but of course she was gone.
I think it probably had something to do with all that fire