One time Matthew was walking down the street with a pair of headphones on. I was headed somewhere else on a different sidewalk, but I saw him and stopped. I stood and watched for a minute, taking in his frame. He was kind of hunched forward, high-stepping, clapping some sort of syncopated beat as he walked. He must have had that sense you get when you realize someone's staring at you, because he suddenly stopped and looked around. He didn't see me, but rightfully guessed anyway that someone was nearby. Deciding to play it cool, as if he was just walking in a regular manner, he switched his clapping to finger-snapping and continued on his way. Still high-stepping. He looked like he had stepped out of a West Side Story, moments away from a switchblade dance number; hands dropping from shoulder-level to waist with each snap. After watching for a while longer, I darted across the street and stole his headphones so that he could more clearly hear me laugh at him.
I had almost forgotten this until the other day when I went in for a check-up for Mr. Unnamed. The doctor asked the standard questions (feet swelling? does he move much?) and that asked if I had anything I wanted to bring up. Why yes! I said. My son makes a clicking sound! A clicking sound? he asked. Like, if your husband has his head on your belly he can hear something? No no, I said. We'll be talking and all of a sudden we both hear it, pretty loud, this sort of smacking sound... I tried to make the noise but couldn't do it with my mouth. Like he's snapping his fingers? my doctor asked. Yes! I said. That's the sound exactly! He laughed and shrugged and said he very might well be, I might be having a finger-snapping son. I drove the whole way home picturing Matthew strutting down the street, remembering how I had walked circles around him, snapping, exaggerating his motions even more, my mockery almost making him late for work. Picturing a little newborn in his little newborn cap bobbing his head, snapping; a tiny little Matt. I had heard screaming in the hospital during my appointment, I'm not lying, some woman in the delivery section about to hold her baby for the first time. And I was jealous, so jealous. I can't wait to meet my jaunty little son.
3 weeks ago