The thing about me is, I can be very shameless at times. Putting in zero effort into pretense. Today has me staring unashamedly at this guy who has a baby strapped to his back. I should put it out there that I am all for not having gender reserved roles. Only last week I saw a man with a little girl, probably four or five whom I assumed to be his daughter riding bicycles together. They looked so adorable. Dad instructing her, riding beside her and sometimes in front of her to set the pace. The little girl and her little pink bicycle always there. That was an “aawww” moment for me. I pictured him taking her to lunch on a Saturday afternoon. Dropping her in the salon and getting her something she likes afterwards. You know, all the little ways in which daddy’s girls are made.
Anyway, back to Mr. Man carrying a baby. Number one, he was standing outside some dingy bar. The kind where high school students stop by on the way home and feel so bad ass afterwards. Cheap drinks, exists somewhere at the far end of a dimly lit corridor. He looked not a day over twenty five. With a kid strapped to his back, with a leso (shuka, whatever you call it). He clearly did not want to be standing there at close to 7pm with this thing strapped to his back. Least of all on a Friday night, I would imagine. In all fairness, baby did not want to be there any more than he did. The screams coming from the baby, my word. Reminded me of a time a friend apologized for not picking my call telling me he was too busy trying to find the mute button on babies. He probably tried to code one into the baby, he’s a programmer anyway.
I am not sure if you have seen a woman pace up and down while making these shoulder movements to calm down a baby or lull it to sleep. This is what this guy was doing, save for the fact that the kid was not a covered up ball on his back. And the one doing the pacing had a WTF look on his face.
His friends were making a circus out of this. Because a bad situation is never complete without friends to make fun of you. I mean, it is not enough that baby-mama has told you you would make a good mother yourself. That cake has to be iced with useless suggestions from friends. Suggestions they give partly because they can but mostly because it is so much fun. One of his friends wanted to know where he was going to get milk for the baby and milk bars close early. Which was perhaps the only close to useful thing that either one of them said. And even this was in jest.
At the back of my mind all I wanted was to find out how that baby had wound up strapped to his back. Did she come screaming and shouting and running after him? Did she ask his friends to pin him down? Because much as you should have your friends’ backs, throwing them under a bus you are sure won’t kill them makes for greater entertainment. Or did she come with a friend or two to assist. Seeing as it was near a marketplace, maybe she came and raised a shit storm that ended with their ganging up on a bewildered man murmuring “I’m sorry babe”, half not meaning it. And before he knew it, bam, here was the kid.
Then there was what was going to happen to this kid. Is there a chance he was just waiting for darkness to set in properly and then he would run and never look back. Was he going to take her home to his mother? “So mum when I was in my final year in campus, I may or may not have fathered a child and the closest I have gotten to a child is if somebody sat next to me on the bus with one. So here…”
Sadly I do not know the ending to this story. (Unless it was a sad ending in which case I’m glad I don’t.) I realized I had stood there for a bit too long and would probably be mistaken for the baby’s mother. I don’t think that would make me look like a good mother. Staring at my angel scream their lungs out outside a bar. I know I shouldn’t care what people think, and for the most part I don’t. But hey, my future husband might have been walking past at that particular moment.