The man beside me glances at my iPhone and sees the Francisco-Mariel wallpaper.
“I didn’t know you had a kid,” he says, the tone of his voice tinted with condescending amusement. “How do you do this then? Your husband lets you go away? Who takes care of the kid?”
He says “the kid” like he’s talking about a mostly self-sufficient gerbil who needs a daily feeding of celery sticks, whose cage needs to be relined with paper every few days.
I had already decided I detested him- the easy way in which he took advantage of situations and other people with no concern or shame.
We are from a different generation, so it might be hard for him to imagine that my husband is the one who handles the domestic sphere. I can’t remember the last time I did laundry. I cook a meal about once a month. I sweep the apartment daily, but Francisco does most of the heavy cleaning. He’s a full partner in parenting and will be the primary parent in April, as I’ll be traveling most of the month for work.
As I boarded planes and pulled out my laptop during layovers and talked business with a seatmate on the next flight and came home at 11:30 PM to find Mariel asleep… as I unpacked my bag and put my clothes in the laundry hamper and watched Francisco pack them back up and haul them off to the laundry so I could repack them and get ready for my flight tomorrow, I wondered whether the men around me who were doing the same felt anything similar to what I was feeling.