My parents will never have grandchildren.
At the beach, my brother points out the families with children and says, “Don’t the parents look miserable?” He thinks everyone should have a personal one-child policy. Children, he says, are instruments of destruction like little landmines. You have kids, and boom – there goes your money. Boom, your social life stops glittering. Boom, your nice body goes soft in the wrong places. Basically, he says, have kids and you can say goodbye to everything you love. You’ll become a sort of zombie driven by drunk, sloppy instinct. He thinks that new parents pretend to be happy because they’re too proud to admit that they’ve made a terrible mistake.
I am not as cynical. I’m also not as verbal, so I can’t describe as strongly why I don’t want children. I don’t think about children, but I feel them as weights pulling me down. Like that man in the photo – he could float into space like the men in Magritte:
But these sandbags, these little bureaucrats tether him to a dull everydayness. He has to wear that suit so he can make money to buy the girl’s little Mary Janes. He has to wear the scowl when the boy acts up, even though frowning makes him gray inside. They live in that straight-line house because it’s near the best schools. He’ll never fly away now.