In Others’ Shoes

Image for post
Image for post
original photo by

Determined to not let my postpartum get the best of me, I swaddled up Aleidy and left the house.

It was hardly the quick departure it used to be: keys, phone, book, go. Even pared down to the bare essentials, my bag now looks like the entire baby aisle at CVS.

Still, I…oops, make that “we”… were off to grab a book and, if my weaning calculations were right, possibly a well-earned latte. Texted Jonë to corroborate my math and let her know I was getting out of the mommacave.

An older couple pulled up alongside us in the parking lot and offered to help me get inside. I did the standard “would-you-just-leave-me-the-hell-alone-and-let-me-HANDLE-this,” but in my new-mom voice, which sounds just like “Ohh, thank you. No, I’m okay.”

Once I finally sat down with the latest Modern Bride magazine and a tall cup of milky heaven, Aleidy sensed her momma’s need for some alone time and passed out accordingly. I used the last of my restraint trying not to scarf down the chocolate cheesecake croissant as I waited for my latte. I was done. I didn’t even bother to undo the crunchy mama baby sling carrier. Crumbs happen. And I craned my neck enough to avoid any hot liquid drip.

As damn fate would have it, when we were ready to leave, I happened upon the same couple from the parking lot as we waited on line to checkout. I quickly maneuvered my phone into my free hand and furrowed my brow as if trying to read a very important but confusing message. One that would certainly demand my attention more than the barrage of intrusive and possibly rude baby and pregnancy questions they were bound to gush at me.

Their attention thankfully turned instead to the woman at the register. She had her cell phone pinned between her ear and shoulder as she was being helped by the clerk.

“Ugh, that’s so rude,” scoffed the woman quietly to her husband.

“Oh, I know.”

“Can’t put your phone down for one damn minute.”

I bit my tongue, thinking on what Jonë had shared with me second-hand from her years in therapy. It is easy to think the worst of others. It is much harder to put yourself in others’ shoes. And understand they have a whole life going on we haven’t the slightest idea about.

Even in thinking that, I realized I was still passing judgment on the older couple for passing judgment on the complete stranger. And it made me appreciate Aleidy’s other mother and her dedication to psychoanalysis on a whole other level. I really could benefit from seeing someone myself. I know Jonë will love to hear this. I text her my revelation as I sway our baby and gaze off in thought.

I got lost thinking what might have been on the other end of that phone call.

Image for post
Image for post

The call came at last that Angelique had been dreading
Grandma had passed just a week before her wedding.
She held back a look to hide her shedding even a tear
and passed the book this soon bride was getting to the cashier.

Image for post
Image for post

Writer-Artist ✍ Contact: →in New Yorker: Find @ernio_art →on Instagram: License →via

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store