She packed the stroller with books and bags of heavy things but no baby. The baby had grown up to be a teenage boy. Sometimes he went with her but mostly she walked alone, fast and determined like she had to get somewhere far at a certain time or there would be a big price to pay. To make the trip harder and really worth it, sometimes she would pack a backpack so full of heavy things that it would sag down below her waist. She was thin and muscular from all that walking and focused, very focused, always looking straight ahead and pushing, pushing, pushing. Passers-by would stare the first few times they saw her with her loaded-down stroller and wonder where the baby was and they’d think that maybe she was homeless or crazy. Some would conjure up a dead baby and make her a grieving mother. Others talked about her to their friends. She was their oddity.

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Photo: Josh Wilburne