My girlfriend Kailey and I went to a cocktail party in honor of a friend of hers who was moving away. It felt like we departed on an epic road trip just to reach a little known burg east of the city. Once we left all signs of the city behind, the scenery turned into starry night and vacant fields. I gazed skyward, half expecting to see the descending ring of glowing red lights from the ass-end of a UFO. We finally turned into a pitch-black suburban development and slowly drove past cookie-cutter houses in search of the right address.

Upon entering the house, I felt an arctic chill in the depth of my core as the absence of all things urban and adult assaulted my senses. Children’s toys cluttered the living room floor and a couple of burbling, 14-month olds toddled unevenly on their way somewhere then halted mid-wobble with no idea of how they got there or where they were headed. An ear-splitting shriek followed me as I walked straight into the empty kitchen to pour myself a drink.

Needless to say, the party ended up finding me because I stood in the kitchen–where the gravitational pull of all parties leads. Most of the conversation centered on television shows I don’t watch, gossip about people I don’t know, with half the participants holding babies. Right then, I wished I was cozying up to my favorite city bar discussing sex or girlfriend problems with my best friend. Anything but this.

I turned around and there was Kailey, looking lovely and serene–her face infused with a strange glow I’d never seen on her before. And then I noticed the baby. A beautiful, curly-haired child sat fat and happy in Kailey’s arms, mesmerized by her long, dark hair and clutching a strand in her little fingers. The two of them just looked right together, somehow. “Oh dear lord,” I muttered. Both the baby and Kailey intently looked at me now, inviting me to come closer. I saw my future smiling back at me in slobbery, dimpled cheeks. My throat went dry, my heart pounded like a bongo and I tried with every fiber of my being to take one hesitant step toward them…

Instead, Kailey handed the baby over to a childless bystander and said to me, “Can we go home now?” I sighed in relief. Cool. Baby, let’s paint the town red.

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