If only it was possible to strangle a hologram. “I told you what I thought of those things,” I say through clenched teeth. “No.” Why can’t she just drop it?
“But you need a break,” she whines for the umpteenth time. If I had a nickel...
“What I need is for you to get out of my face about the whole thing.”
“Don’t you want to come back to work?”
Really? That’s her trump card? “That’s not the priority anymore.”
“It can be,” she continues to assert the issue. “It wouldn’t make you less of a mother if you were to do that.”
Yes it would. I gaze down at the gurgling bundle in my arms. “Putting a baby through something like that just so that I can go out partying with you guys or whatever is selfish and vindictive. It’s even worse than dumping the child on your parents all the time. No, I’m not doing it.”
“And it’s fair to be an emotional wreck in front of your baby all the time?” I am not an emotional wreck! “Just one hour,” she continues when I don’t say anything. “That’s all. One hour. Then you can pick up from where you left off.”
“No. No. It won’t stop off at just one hour. It will become two hours, every day, and before you know it you’re seventy, with a two-year-old child.”
“The hell are you talking abo-”
“That’s how my parents died,” I snap suddenly. I don’t mean to, but she’s worked me up about this since the damned child was born. “They just kept putting me in that damned stasis box, and had breaks, or went on holiday, or whatever. Without me. I was three when they died. Hell, I was still in the fucking box when they died! They never even bothered with me!” Now she’s quiet.
“I’m sorry if I’m considered old fashioned because I’m not following the trend like everybody else, but I’m not doing that to my baby.”
The hologram disappears. The bundle cries. But it’s the most comforting sound to ring in my ears.