One day, I want to be the eccentric woman on the hill with a menagerie. I've already scouted out the hill - there's a perfect one right near my hobbit cottage, marked by a sign urging dog owners to keep hold of their pets so they don't terrify the goats. I want a hill with goats and giraffes maybe a water park for a baby porpoise and a few adventurous hippos. I almost started my menagerie on Sunday morning when we were walking through the town square for coffee. A man had four puppies on a leash and he was parked in a spot where people would stop to play with the dogs, which we promptly did. I know myself well enough to give puppies a wide berth but the manfriend was playing with them before I could coax him to a safer spot, one far away from puppies who need homes. Inevitably, one of the puppies crawled over to me and started to lick my hand until I was about thirty seconds from breaking my lease and smuggling a dog into my house. I might have even done it, if housing wasn't so desperately hard to find in the Bay Area.
We hadn't made it out of the town square before I started crying because I wanted a puppy. Not just a puppy, that puppy. We had to spend the rest of the day comforting me with discussion about how puppies pee on favorite rugs and chew on hot pink ballet flats.
Yesterday, I started crying in a diner when I saw an empty baby carrier sitting on the ground.
One could chalk this up to hormones - and I usually do - but it feels like a symptom of something bigger.
My life is very quiet. I have a lot of time and space alone. I know that friends with pets and kids and jobs would kill for the life I lead, or at least they would for a week or so, before they started missing their children and pets. But at some point, a few years in, the quiet begins to echo. It's not emptiness precisely, but it is solitary. And I don't believe we're meant to be solitary creatures.
I've had people tell me not to wait too long before having children - but it's not a question of waiting. It's a question of timing. I've been knocking myself out, believing that I have complete control over what happens in my life and when. But the more I abandon the idea of control and just allow things to happen as they will, the easier everything gets.
But I will continue to dream of a time when there are kids and animals tumbling over hills. Even if the giraffe remains a bit of a stretch.