Shrieking voices reverberated off the plaster arches of Balboa Park. Jane chatted with the other parents who quacked away like ducks while herding their chicks into the pond. It was imperative that I get away at once, before I had some kind of “episode,” during which I might exclaim something inappropriate. I was backing away when the first woman we’d encountered, now holding her toddler’s hand as the child squirmed at her feet, stepped in front of me, a sociable smile on her face. “Do you have a kid in the class?”
I stared back at her for an uncomfortably long time, a wide-eyed, perplexed expression on my face. When her smile began to waiver, I blurted, “I don’t have kids.” Then, following in my niece’s footsteps, I offered up some random facts: “Don’t want ’em. Like the role of aunt. Okay, now, bye.” While she was probably trying to figure out from which mental disorder I was suffering, I absconded to a quiet, shady space about 20 feet away and waited for my sister, wondering if I should have tried falling on my tukas.