I used to have an imaginary friend. I’d see her while riding in the back of my parent’s car. She rode a beautiful white horse that ran alongside my window, and no matter how far we drove, she was always there.
I’d roll down the window to reach for her hand, or if we were on the freeway, I’d press my face up against the glass to be as close to her as possible. Sometimes, I’d pretend I was her. I’d cease to exist, and my body would flicker into dust in the wind.
My friends are all growing up. They drive their own cars with their own children riding in the back seat. I look into their cars and see what my life might’ve been. Each car is a different story driving down a path I cannot follow. Other childfree women embrace their lives with flare, but I only feel broken. Seeing a destination I will never reach hurts me.
“That pang is about feeling out of step with the stages of life more than of having missed out on them.”—Laurie Graff in No Kidding: Women Writers on Bypassing Parenthood
I don’t want kids. I never wanted them, but I can’t help but wonder why. Why do I feel so small? Why do I feel so wrong? Why don’t I get to choose? I am just learning how to crawl. I am on my hands and knees watching the world go by. I am the one riding a horse, always out of reach, alongside a car where a little girl once sat dreaming of disappearing into the wind.