just not have children.

she moved to california because the weather where she lived was awful. she couldn't bear another winter where she was before. college was over, and on flights to see her family, she found herself worrying on planes more often. afraid she was gonna crash. she didn't develop a fear of flying until after graduating from college, a time when it seemed like there was nothing left in store for her, and that because she couldn't prove she would ever do anything important with her life - god, if there was a god - was simply gonna take it from her.

she got a small apartment in a place outside the city, and it still cost her quite a bit. about half her paycheck, to be more approximate. she rode the bus, and took the train when she missed the bus, and took the bus when she missed the train. she tried to pack her lunch everyday, but sometimes she got too lazy or forgot, and so she'd have to buy a lunch. sometimes, the thought of food just made her sick - what with all their chemicals and calories - and she'd just skip lunch altogether. but most days, she'd brownbag it, and she'd eat a soggy sandwich at her desk.

her parents would come to visit, and they weren't that well off, so they'd stay with her. she'd offer to sleep on the couch, and they would take her bed. her mom would complain that her apartment was too small and too expensive and in a bad area. her dad wouldn't say much. she'd take her parents out to eat, take them to different parts of the city, and her mom wouldn't really like any of it. she'd say everything was too expensive and not that good and why don't you just move closer to home? the girl would sigh and think, why didn't you ever just not have children?

throughout the months, she'd go on many random dates. her friends were always trying to fix her up. "i wanna set you up with so-and-so," one would say. another would say, "i'll bet you'd really like so-and-so." sometimes, she'd get excited about meeting somebody new for the first time, and she would get her bangs trimmed for $30 and buy a new dress on sale, and make sure she exercised. but then the actual date would come, and she'd be disappointed. there was always something wrong with the other person.

she was nearing 30, and she thought she should be married by now. all of her friends were married, and most of them had children. she thought that maybe something was wrong with her, that the right person hadn't come along yet and proposed and knocked her up. she'd wake up in the middle of the night and think, i'm all alone, and it's always gonna be this way, and she'd be sweating and her heart would be racing, and she'd wonder how much longer she could take it. why did life have to be so awful all the time.

and then some days, she was filled with this energy, with this light, and every little thing would just make her smile. a stupid headline in the newspaper about a boy floating away in a balloon, or else a politician's daughter being called a "slut." everything was tragic and hilarious and bursting with life. some days, she was floating, and she could just see all the tiny heads below her, and she was so warm that she could actually feel the blood flowing in her arms.

and that's how she spent a good deal of her 20's.

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