Nobody should really get excited about working the evening shift waiting tables at a roadside diner, but I can't help enjoying it. Six to midnight, three or four days a week, I'm getting out of the house, doing something that gets me a paycheck at the end of the week, and feeling like I'm contributing. Yeah, I'm practically asleep on my feet at the end of my shift, and there are plenty of customers that do what they can to make it difficult, but most of them are nice, and some of the ones that are jerks at least surprise you by tipping well, though whether they do that to apologize or whether they think they're purchasing my putting up with their act, I'm not sure.
I haven't really made any friends here the way I did at The Changeling, but that's understandable; I've got a big other responsibility at home, so even if there was another Moira here, I'd have a bit of a harder time making time to hang out after work. It's not like the owner is also a fellow Inn guest like Ashlyn, either, so we don't have that special bond.
There is at least another woman with a baby there, though, and if we're not really buddies, she was cool enough to put me onto a nice yoga studio that has a play area for the little guys when I noticed her mat and said I wished I had time for that, what with there still being a few pregnancy pounds I wouldn't mind getting rid of. She joked about how I didn't need any help taking all the tips (I should probably tell her that being black in an area this white cancels out a fair amount of what I get from how the t-shirt I was given would be tight even if I wasn't lactating), but told me about the new-mom classes anyway.
I've seen her a couple of times there - there's only a few of those sessions, after all - and we mostly just nod. Still, one time we got just deep enough into conversation on the way out that we weren't quite paying attention to who else was on the sidewalk, and I actually bumped into my father on the sidewalk, on the way back to his office after lunch. I was surprised enough to say "oh, hi, Dad" before backtracking to the cover story where he was a second cousin who took me in while I was pregnant, so he was kind of like my father. I probably didn't need to - this co-worker lives a couple towns over and doesn't go to our church, so it's not like that bit of gossip was likely to get back - but you develop certain habits quickly.
Like, for instance, how my dad looked at me in yoga pants and the t-shirt I'd quickly thrown on over my sport bra rather than go into the women's locker room, and saw me as his daughter dressed immorality right away rather than having the moment where his brain is registering me as someone who'd be fair game if he weren't married (all of us are glad to be past that). He still raised an eyebrow, though, and asked if this is how I spent the money I made at work.
"We'll, it's kind of an investment - keeping in good shape gets me more in tips than the class costs, especially since this sort of workout doesn't shrink the--" Seeing his look of disapproval, I didn't finish that sentence. "Sorry. I don't know what I'm thinking sometimes. Anyway, it's not a matter of wanting guys to look at me, but it just feels good to be in shape, like when I was playing sports in school, and I do want to return Krystle's body to her more or less the way she left it, and Little Moira kind of did a number on me."
He looked a bit more skeptical than he probably would have if I'd started with that, but I think he could tell it was the truth. That didn't make it totally okay, of course. "Does it have to be this? Maybe there's something you could do at home, or the path in the woods..."
"It doesn't HAVE to, I guess, but I actually kind of like yoga, at least while I'm like this. My friend Missy got me into it - SHE really likes looking sexy but she was overweight in her original body, and she still really hates workouts that have to do with running or stairs - anyway, she pointed out that there was a whole section of preggos, and even though I was skeptical, it really worked for me.
"Besides, I tried running some of my old routes, but not only can you not do the one in the woods with a stroller, but I need at least two sport bras on even just running down the street for it not to be completely terrible. I know you don't like thinking about me having a chest, but there's practical considerations there."
He quickly changed the conversation to the Celtics and Kylie Irving.
Mom mentioned it later at home, although it was to ask whether the place was good. I guess one of her co-workers goes there as well and had been recommending it. She also pointed out that in the future, I really should bring a pair of pants or even just a skirt to slip into afterward, that just because I was trying to avoid looking at women practically naked didn't mean I should be letting other men do it to me or even Krystle.
That little dig out me in half a mind to tell her that, no, I didn't have a spare tampon when she knocked on the bedroom door the next morning, but I didn't, figuring it must have taken her a lot to ask.
Indeed, last night, I realized while we were watching TV, that this was probably something like what my life would be like if I had actually been born a girl and gotten knocked up. Without Krystle actually in the house, we can actually feel like a regular family and not one where a curse and a fake me are part of the equation. It's not easy - I can tell that for all they love Little Moira, my folks are still really disappointed in me, and, trust me, I think that certain things would be so much easier if I were still a guy about twenty times a day - and it never feels normal, but it does kind of like something that could be normal had things been different.