Every weekday morning I unconsciously wait for it to arrive. The school bus. It comes to pick up our only neighbour’s eldest boy to deliver him to Grade One. I check the clock on the stove when I see it approaching down our shared gravel road and mentally note whether it’s early or late. I indulge a guilty pleasure watching it pull out of their driveway and disappear over the little rise in the road.
What it means is that I’ll have the freedom to work outside in our backyard and not hear him yelling “Hey!” over the fence at me until I either walk away or acknowledge him. It means he won’t automatically scale the fence and trot over, at the slightest hint of encouragement, trailing his younger brother and their ill-mannered dog behind him. He’s not a bad kid. In fact, I think he has an above average intelligence. He just doesn’t respect the boundary of our property line and intrudes on me without invitation.
I wonder if his mother is as pleased to have him gone for the day as I am. Given the way I hear her shrieking profanities at him through their open windows, I suspect she is. She’s not the sweet young thing she presents to the world.
I first announced my intention never to have children when I was a pre-teen. It was met with nods and knowing smiles. It’s not that I don’t like kids, it’s just that I find it exceedingly difficult to relate to them. Oddly enough, they gravitate to me like cats who zero in on the one person in the room who’s allergic to them. It’s uncanny. I’ve been told by other adult observers, it’s because I don’t talk down to them. Personally, I think it’s because they’re sadists.
Little people bring with them noise and messiness and chaos and, in truth, I’m a hermit at heart. I like my life to be peaceful. Time spent in quiet solitude is as essential to my existence as the air I breathe and my home is my sanctuary.
Society implies that it’s ‘unnatural’ for a woman not to want to reach that highest ideal of ‘Motherhood’ and to engage in the sacred ability to create life (cue the heavenly choir). My decision not to have children was a conscious one. Perhaps, it’s because I grew up in a home where violence prevailed. Or, maybe it’s my innate aversion to the pain associated with childbirth. Regardless of the source, the older I get, the more I know that it was the right choice for me.