I had reached the point where I had had it with everything: my job was abysmal; I kept having to go to events I hated; and conversation in general drained my soul out through my ears. The time had come to create the perfect excuse to get out of everything. So I invented a baby.
Faking a pregnancy is easy when you’re single (at least in this modern world) – I would never have gotten away with it if I was living with the imaginary father (I’m just not that devious). It was a nice attention-booster at work and a great way to get out of doing pretty much anything: the bigger my fake stomach grew, the more I could just put my feet up and nap. I even got to go home a lot of times with intense back pain, which wasn’t entirely a lie (fake stomachs have real weight, my friends). Morning sickness let me come in late a lot, too, and Braxton Hicks nicely took care of the rest of the day quite often (got out of some literally painful meetings with that one – false labor’s a life-saver, let me tell you). The girls were sweet and tried to throw me a baby shower, but I headed them off at the pass on that one by saying “Please don't fuss” and having them just write me one big check (what am I going to do with a crib and sundry baby paraphernalia?). I did the same with my family, only some of my first-degree relatives insisted on giving me strollers – whatever floats their boat.
When the “baby” arrived after 9 ½ months of stretching out the term (I refused to take maternity leave before delivery because I’m that much of a trooper), I dropped off the radar for a while to “nest” in Paris, insisting upon on my privacy while simultaneously hinting that the “child’s” “father” quite possibly was some world leader who needed to buy my silence to avoid disastrous scandal. Labor lasted for five weeks as I toured Western Europe (definitely do not go there in August, nothing’s open).
I finally returned home and was ready to re-introduce myself to society as a new mother whose baby no one ever saw. I found an old baby picture of me that I used the wonders of modern technology to make it appear as if it had just been taken the other day. Ate up many an hour in the office showing that off.
Social gatherings became a bit of an issue: everyone kept wanting to see their new cousin/niece/granddaughter, so much so I had to inflict an impossible amount of colds upon the poor thing to explain her continual absence. Thankfully, after a seemly amount of time I could invent a babysitter. The whole enterprise finally paid off at those interminable gatherings where people just don’t. Stop. Talking. One simple sentence would save me: “Gotta go – the baby.” It wasn’t even a proper sentence, but it worked every time.
“The baby” – what a wonderful phrase. “I’d love to go to the wake, but, you know, the baby.” “Can’t stay overtime anymore, boss – the baby.” “Cousin’s in the hospital again? Of course I’d visit, if it weren’t for THE BABY.” “Dance recital? Yeah, the baby.” I can milk this for years.
Don’t know what I’ll do when she’s a teenager, though. Maybe I’ll decide to have another one by then.