The Black Leather Pants
She was never the mother who pushed a grocery cart while nursing a newborn, or hosted a party while nursing a newborn, or mowed the lawn, etc. She was the one with a complicated setup on the couch, involving pillows and cloth diapers, a glass of water, a digital alarm clock, a purple tube of Lansinoh, a pen and paper. Gritting her teeth at the letdown – a sharp pulsing pain that lasted ten seconds- and writing down the exact time of feeding. Keeping track of the thing that was eating up her life. To the minute.
She was the mother, who, while nursing her baby, thought about a pair of size two leather pants, languishing in a wicker basket on top of her wardrobe. She used to wear them with a T-shirt, boots, and a faux-fur coat. She could be ready to go in five minutes. That was freedom. Sleeping around, sleeping late. A bare apartment, the pictures not even hung on the walls but leaning against them like noncommittal guests at a party. Mismatched dishes in the kitchen, more wine glasses than water glasses. Men to sleep with, women to drink with, a binder of poetry to read from at dark smoky nightclubs. A job now and then. She’d stay just long enough, until they expressed a need for her. This was supposed to be flattering, an appeal to her need to be needed and her need for cash. But their need made her want to go. Then she would quit, sit in cafés until money grew scarce and the electric company threatened to turn off the lights.
She was the mother who wondered about the black leather pants. Can she squeeze into them now? Please. It’s 4:00 a.m. The baby has fallen asleep on the breast.
Dylan Brie Ducey has work forthcoming in Gargoyle, Cheap Pop, Sou’wester, and Halfway Down the Stairs. She received her MFA from San Francisco State University and is an editor for The Forge Literary Magazine.
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