The gym. I finished stretching and was headed to the shower, passing the cafe. There on top of one of the tables was a baby. Sitting up, big eyes, curious, watching. His mom at the table, and another lady too, both of them aware of the attention they were (rightly) drawing with this incredible cuteness.
He looked so much like Clark had. The baldness, the plaintive expressions, the chubbiness. I hesitated, circled back for another look. And then I was crying, surprised that I was. What I thought was: my baby is gone, vanished, lost from me. Something that was mine and is no longer.
I finished with my cry, was ready to move on, dried off and dressed. I was walking out, my bag over my shoulder, when the non-mother woman from the table (the grandmother? a friend?) passed me in the locker room carrying the baby on her shoulder. Oh he was cute. Cute cute cute. Serious cuteness. I stopped her and said, "I have to get a look at this guy," and to him, "Hi there sweetness," and then suddenly again I had to turn away for the emotion. It came up so quickly! I ended up having to sit on a bench by the locker room door and just try to let it pass. Every woman who left the locker room couldn't help but see me there and I wondered how many would pass me before someone stopped to ask if I were okay. (which I was, and felt pretty silly for all this emotion over something so obvious and normal.)
My baby. My last one.
It's okay, though. A couple of days after the thing at the gym I found myself laughing with him, getting him to say words that were hard for his mouth wrap around. He said zweebwra, and we laughed and laughed. And I thought, this is better. That baby was sweet, but this is more. It is life. Going forward. Because that's what it does.