San Francisco Airport
“Can I see your boarding pass please?”, the uniformed woman said and glanced down at my bulging belly covered under a green long-sleeved shirt with empire waist and a black coat that was impossible to close below the two top buttons. “How far along are you?”, she continued and little flashes went through my head, thinking through quickly. What was I again? I was actually 37 weeks but since most airlines would not allow you to fly pregnant after week 36 I needed to lie. But how much? And what if she didn’t believe me? I did have a doctor’s note but it stated my real due date and I would have to either tell her that was wrong or hope she couldn’t count. I opened my mouth but only a few ehh’s came out. What if she didn’t let me on? How would I get home? I guess I could rent a car and drive the 10 hours back to San Diego from San Francisco but how could I sit in a car for that long? And I needed to be back for a meeting the next day. Why couldn’t I just have finished this project earlier? I had traveled up and down five times the past three months to study an urban planning project. My research project depended on this data and I had meticulously calculated that I would be okay to fly, even asking my midwife to provide me with a note explaining I was okay to travel until week 36. Except I had mistakenly planned the last trip during spring break and since nobody was around, the trip had to be pushed a week. Nobody will notice I had thought one month before when I was still able to wear my heels and prance around in my coat with only one button open. But now I felt my belly pull me down and my back hurt from walking the half mile down to the gate. I wanted to be home before I had even left the day before. If they would let me. Please let me go home I thought. The attendant interrupted my third ehh: “Well, you look great, good luck with it”, she smiled and handed me back my boarding card stub and turned her gaze to the next passenger. I sighed in relief and walked my short but steady steps down the air bridge to my window seat. I was on my way home, alone. Next time I was going to fly, I would be two.