Missy went to Australia for New Year's before coming back to Boston, and when I said that was a lot of flying, even in first class, she agreed, saying that by the time you're almost home, you aren't sad about vacation being over any more, you just want this flight to be done. I can relate, and I was never particularly excited about being a woman, let alone pregnant!
The word thing is, there are bits of things I miss. Don't get me wrong, it was hard as heck to go to work and be on my feet for most of the night, but I was kind of independent, managing things, and that felt good. Since coming up here, though, my "job" has been having a safe, healthy pregnancy, and as much as it's tough to actively do a whole lot else now that I've blown up to the size of a small car, I'm kind of bored.
I thought that maybe I could help Krystle out with "being me", but the fact that someone else was in my life for a year before Krystle and so many of my friends went to the Inn and don't expect her to act like me means it's not so urgent. And, in other stuff, I'm behind. Like, I was never really that great at math, but the guy before Krystle was, so he signed up for some higher-level courses, and it turns out that Krystle has surprised herself with how good she is. She'd always treated knowing how much had been shoved into her panties within a few dollars by the end of the night, no matter how wasted she was, as just a weird little trick, but it turns out she's good with numbers generally. It's kind of made studying for the SATs and applying to colleges weird - she does well on math, writing not so much, so while I'm thinking that after graduation, I always wanted to study religion and follow in Grandpa's footsteps, she knows she's going to do better on other parts of the tests and interviews. I'm writing the application essays, but she's going to be doing the interviews, and neither of us can really talk much about the biggest experiences in our lives.
So, I just kind of sit around being pregnant. Not so much sitting around - I try to get some chores done and run the occasional errand, but that's become a little harder as I'm waddling and there's snow on the ground. I kind of also think that my parents don't necessarily want me leaving the house too much. They haven't told the neighbors that "Jonah" knocked me up, instead coming up with a cover story that I'm some sort of poor cousin from the city whom they have graciously agreed to take in during this difficult time, but people whisper. They haven't hit on the truth, or as much of the truth as the Inn's magic will let them believe, but there's been a lot of talk about Dad. It makes me sick to consider, and while he says he doesn't mind taking the hit to his reputation if it lets me have a future, I hate the idea.
Mom really hates it. I only really see how it affects her at church, where other people will stare at her and me, sometimes nodding to each other (no matter who in the family I sit next to, people seem to think it means something), and I've heard some variation of a conversation with Mom saying Christian charity is more important than how people talk a dozen times. Only two sermons about the evils of sex out of wedlock and how bad it is for a child to not have both a mother and a father. I can't say I liked being used as a bad example; it makes me both want to shout about how people don't know the whole story and remember to lean more heavily on forgiveness and helping out if I ever earn my way behind a pulpit.
My friends have mostly been great. I talk with Moira, Missy, and Benjamin on-line all the time, and Missy in particular likes sending me baby toys - she'll see something and just drop it in the mail, even if she's in Hong Kong or Australia. My friends from school who also went to the Inn kind of split along gender lines - I freak the guys out, especially the ones that turned into girls themselves, I guess because they know that this could have happened to them, and their white male brains don't want to face it. The girls are mostly cool, though - they're really polite about asking if they can touch my belly, a lot more so than other people, maybe because they know what is like to have other people acting like they've got a claim on your body. I also think that most of them wound up in relatively good situations, and hanging out with me gives them more of a connection to something they remember fondly that they're afraid will fade as we go to college and just have regular lives. And sometimes they're just curious about what the future has in store when they start families. I don't know how many will follow up in terms of promised babysitting, but we'll see.
And then there's Krystle.
It was really weird between us at first. She was still mad at me for he not being able to get back to her life for an extra year and how she'll have a lot to explain when she does, but the fact that I am living her life and maybe something else where the baby's concerned gives her some sort of maternal/paternal instinct to protect us. Even if she would really rather I'd used a condom, she's the one that tells me that sometimes a woman with not much else but a good body will have to use it as a resource, and while people will try and make you feel bad, it's mostly just hypocritical B.S. Nobody, she says, ever told the bouncers outside the strip club that they shouldn't exploit the fact that they're six and a half feet of solid muscle.
I also seem to be the only person she can relax around. Dad calls it "code-switching" when she starts talking black, for lack of a better description, although technically the actual switching had been talking like the mostly-white people around her ever since first becoming someone else a year and a half ago, and you can see that he and Mom don't really approve of the bad grammar, pronunciation, and seeming to put random words in bold. I didn't really like it at first either - I mostly grew up around white people and my folks said I'd never get anywhere if I sounded ignorant - but I got used to hearing it living Krystle's life (Momma Kamen may talk like that a bit, but I'd never think of her as dumb), so I don't look down on her when she breaks it out (I hope). I guess I'm the one she can be herself with, even if it's just swearing a bunch when we play Xbox, since even the other folks who know about the Inn aren't really cool with her being that way.
Plus, I guess she's gotten to the point where she likes being me for a while. She enjoys being on the basketball team, and though she's hated the part of school that's taking standardized tests, I've seen her looking at community college courses for when we switch back, because knowing you can do something is a big deal, and I guess she never knew she could do more than turn a guy's head before. She also says high school is a lot more fun when you know just which parts don't matter. It's also apparently a lot of fun when a girl who also went to the Inn whispers that "Jonah" really knows what a girl likes.
Despite that, like I said, she's making plans for afterward, which is a relief. As much as I know I'm not going to feel like a whale anymore any day now, I still can't wait to be myself again.
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