By Claire Ferris
The other day my buddy Six went into labour. When her water broke, she went nuts and started screaming louder than that time when George Stroumboulopoulos replied to one of her tweets. The baby-daddy, Casey, had no clue it was happening. Casey doesn’t believe in marriage. He thinks it’s an unnecessary institution that society forces upon people, so he has to reject it. To prove he’s serious about this, he doesn’t believe in common law marriage either; that’s just the government tricking people into thinking they’re not actually married, but really, they are. Casey won’t even let himself be classified as a “live in boyfriend” either. Hell, even just “boyfriend” makes him uneasy. He doesn’t need people thinking he’s settling down and getting a so called “real life”. Casey’s parents don’t have a “real life”, why should he?
His folks are at the ripe age of twenty-something-or-other, and they’re shacked up in Toronto. Not together, I mean. They’ve always lived apart and Casey turned out just fine. So now he has his own place down in Kensington in this rad, converted factory building just a block over from his parents. He woulda mooched off them long as he could but he wanted to establish his auto-whatever it is…autonomy, yeah. But this doesn’t mean the guy doesn’t still bring his laundry over to their place for them to take the laundromat, and while they’re waiting, take him to Burrito Bros.
Although the two don’t live together, Casey and Six do live in the same building. She moved into his old apartment when he moved downstairs ‘cause “it was easier for him to get his fixed gear out the door”. The day they met was the day she moved into the building. Casey came waltzing through the foyer just in time to slip through the door as Six struggled to open it, her one box of stuff in hand. As he passed by he was able to peek through the corner of his Wayfarers, into Six’s box where he saw one record player, three records (Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, Drake), a MacBook Air, a glue-gun and a copy of Catcher in the Rye. “Sup.” He said. “Hey.” She said back. When they ran into each other again later that day, Casey introduced himself and Six asked if she could add him to Facebook. Casey didn’t have an account, so once she went back up into her apartment, he created one under the pseudonym “Casey Jones”. After the friend requests were exchanged, he created a private Facebook event, “An evening of Mario Kart” and invited Six. She accepted.
Casey was playing Mario Kart and listening to some obscure band you’ve never heard of on his record player when Six went into labour. Even if he had been sitting quietly, reading his Bukowski, he wouldn’t have heard her cries when her water broke. The heavy doors and stone walls of the converted factory held the sound in pretty good. If he had not had his MacBook open beside him, he would have never seen Six’s status update: “Umm… Water broke. Don’t think the landlord can fix this.”
Any other person would have an iPhone for situations like this but Casey and Six don’t.
They will tell you its because cellphones are just a way for the government to track you or because they’re not giving into that pretentious trend, and then they will tell you that they don’t understand why people just can’t communicate face to face anymore. Truth is, they don’t have the cash. Those things are expensive. Casey and Six like to write letters.
Six made them each their own personalized stationary sets, complete with wax seals that feature the sketches of some street artist you’ve never heard of.
Under Six’s status update, Casey wrote “Get real.” and she wrote “I am real” and then…
Casey: Is it just your kitchen sink leaking again, cause forgetaboutit.
Six: NOT my kitchen sink.
Casey: So what’s up?
Six: You need to take me to the hospital.
Casey: Are you nuts. It’s freezing out!
Six: No, I’m pregnant and the baby’s going to come out.
Casey: Oh shit, bring your bike down and we’ll go.
Six: I don’t think I can ride a bike.
Casey: Well that’s all I have. You can sit on my handle bars.
Six: Are you nuts?
Casey: What am I supposed to do here?
Six: Get off Facebook, get up here and call me a cab.
Casey: Look who’s talking. you’re on Facebook too.
Six: Put down the Mario Kart and get up here!
Casey: You know me so good, babycakes. <3
Six’s pregnancy came as as total shock to her and Casey. Well, not so much Six as she was prone to having scares in all of her relationships. Her lady time would be late, and she’d panic but then it would show up the next day or something. Whenever she went into Rexall or Shoppers she thought about buying a pregnancy test just in case, but she never had a shopping list that was large enough to hide it in. Not only that, but those things are expensive. So she’d always just wait it out and if after a few months she started to get fat, then she might make the splurge. If she ever did turn out to be pregnant and the baby just happened to fall out one day while she was in the shower or whatever, she might get to be on TLC’s hit show “I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant”. That’d be pretty cool. But around the four-month mark of her Casey-induced scare, Six’s boobs got huge and she started to get fat. She skipped the test and went to the doctor.
One day Casey invited Six over to play Mario Kart and listen to the new Arcade Fire. When she walked in the door he made a face and said “Alright, babe, time to cut down on the burritos.” Instead of freaking out that he just called her fat, she told him why she was suddenly so plump. When she finished he said “Okay, that’s cool. I guess you can still eat burritos then, but you should cut back on the hot sauce. I heard that stuff is bad for babies. Something about the hotness. Makes them angry or something. I dunno. PBR in the fridge if you want it. Grab me one too will ya, Sweets?”
A few weeks later when Casey finally clued in as to what was actually happening, they talked about baby names. They discussed the traditional route of naming the kid after parents or grandparents, but vetoed those pretty much right away. Six suggested Holden or Atticus for boys, or Lily-Flower if it’s a girl. Casey wanted Peach, Kensington or Pabst; names he felt would be appropriate for either gender.
When they finally got to the hospital, Six white-knuckled the rails of the bed and twelve cups of ice chips later, she squeezed her eyes shut, clenched her teeth and gave a final push. She clamoured to sit up and see what was going on.
“A Beard!”, she squealed. “He has a beard!”
“Congrats chicky. You got yourself a little man.” The doctor smacked him on the bottom.
The newborn coughed, spurted, then wailed out “Who you gotta screw to get a latte around here?!” The doctor handed him off to the nurses who promptly washed him off and bundled him up in a cardigan and slipped a pair of nautical loafers onto his feet.
Casey chose to stay in the waiting room playing Pokemon Blue on his Game Boy for the whole thing until the doctor came through the swinging doors from the maternity wing.
“Nice glasses doc, where’s the lenses?”
“It’s for my image, trust.”
“Image of a total hack.”
“Yeah that’s totally it.”
“I knew it.”
“What’s up, Doc?”
“Oh, uh, well congrats, your the father of a healthy twenty-something year old hombre.”
“A little dude?! Sick!”
“You can go in and see your wife now.”
“Bro, she’s not my wife.”
Casey and Six took little Hunter S. home the next day. Casey and his son spent the afternoon bonding over Mario Kart. Six thought she’d be a responsible mom and ran out to Starbucks to get everyone a celebratory latte and vegan cupcake. By the time the three had downed their ventis, it dawned on Six that they hadn’t yet gotten Hunter S. a bed, or clothes, or well, anything. Hunter S. said it was cool, that he and the doc back at the hospital got to talking and he was gonna hold up with him. The doctor was lookin’ for a roommate to help cover the rent of his place on Bloor since he was saving up for a road trip to Coachella. Six and Casey thought it was a solid plan, told Hunter S. he could visit any time, and sent him off into the world with a subway token and a six pack of PBR.
Claire Ferris is a twenty-something year old living in Windsor. When she’s not writing about food, she’s most likely consuming it. Favourites include anything sweet, Mexican or breakfasty. She once won an award for “Seeing the best in people”.