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my shadow & yours

We didn’t have any choice but to deal with it: the eyes like saucers, the hands paused mid-reach in the baking aisle, the mouths twitching in the frozen food section. I walked with my arm around her, so that our shadows blended together and the world saw one, misshapen, top-heavy creature instead of a third trimester and her companion…at least when staring at the ground.
She said she didn’t mind; she was used to it. She looked up at the gawking cashier and smiled, still telling herself that they all just thought she was beautiful.
At night, when she was asleep, or at least pretended to be, I sat up and allowed myself to think. I asked myself the questions that she would not answer. I wondered how she pictured it: blue eyes, or brown? Would she want to see her own dainty nose reproduced on another’s tiny face, or would that scare her? How could one explain the difference between an accident and a mistake?
We ignored the stares, and I sheltered her as best I could, trying to teach her something.
We didn’t have any choice.

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