“Baby time” by Kinsee Morlan
So here’s how it goes: I walk across the border, dead tired after 12 hours of work, carrying three bags because I can’t seem to fit all my shit in just one.
I drag, but eventually make it to the cabs parked in front of McDonalds, muy cerca de la linea en Tijuana.
I get into a cab, the cheaper smaller ones that cost me $4 to get to La Cacho.
The cab driver looks at me with his watery brown eyes in the rearview mirror and asks if I just got off work.
“Si,” I say wearily, “Y estoy muy, muy cansada.”
“Oh, si?” he asks, with feigned concern. “Adonde vas?”
“La Cacho,” I answer. “Cerca de la Calimax en Boulevard Aguas Calientes.”
He drives in silence for a bit, but never stops looking at me in the rearview mirror.
“Estas casada?” he asks with a sly little smile.”
The dude wants to know if I’m married (for all you gringos out there).
“Nope,” I say. “Estoy soltera.”
“Neta?” they always seem to say. “Pero, tienes ninos, no?”
“Nope,” I say. “No tengo ninos. Estoy demasiado joven.”
“Cauntos anos tienes?” they ask, eyeing the wrinkles around my eyes.
“Tengo venti y seis anos,” I say, raising my eyebrows in an attempt to look younger.
“Y no tienes ninos?” they ask, thoroughly confused.
“Nope, no tengo hijos y vivo en tijuana sola y no tengo un novio tampoco.”
I go ahead and answer all the questions I know will immediately follow: I live in Tijuana. I live alone, and no, I don’t even have a boyfriend.
I sometimes go on and try to explain that in Estados Unidos, or California at least, or at least the women in California that I know, don’t tend to have children until they’re 30 or so. Having kids any younger, I say, isn’t really socially acceptable anymore. Plus, I always try to add, I’m a journalist and I have a lot of stuff I want to do before I settle down. Babies are a lot of work, I say — they always agree on that last point.
And until the moment we pull up to my apartment tucked behind Jazz Tacos in beautiful Colonia La Cacho, the driver is looking at me in the rearview mirror trying to spot the one hideous imperfection that must be keeping me from finding a man and getting knocked up.
I wonder if they ever find it.