Catching a Cab in the Rain While Pissed and Pregnant (Working Title)

The air is normally gray from smog, but today it’s raining. Not a steady drizzle that umbrellas remedy; this is a downpour, and the drops hit the cobblestoned sidewalks so hard they up-pour back onto your jeans, soaking your legs all the way to your knees, despite your umbrella. Should have worn a poncho. Should have worn a fucking tarp.

These kinds of days always seem to happen during pregnancy. You might be pregnant with hope, pregnant with sorrow, pregnant with anger. But today, it’s a baby. A creature made of flesh, bones, and blood that kicks your lungs at regular intervals in case you somehow stopped noticing how your stomach extends over the waistline of your largest pair of yoga pants.

But never mind all that. Those are trifles. You’re in the middle of Beijing in a freezing spring rain and you’re trying to catch a damn taxi.

The headlights reflect off the glistening road and the rain is like a veil, so it’s hard to tell what is a taxi and what isn’t. No matter. Your thumb jabs the air. Surely someone will stop. It’s raining for Chris-sake. Thank God; someone does stop and—oh, yes, it’s a taxi—and a young man—Chinese—steps up just as you open the door to get in. “Wo de,” he says—mine—and the cab driver looks back and forth at each of you and then points to the man and you heft your big old pregnant self out, embarrassed.

Why are you so upset? Why are you cursing? Wasn’t it just a few months ago that you hailed a cab with your friends but, once each of you was seated, the cab driver told you that he refused to drive you and you spoke to him in Mandarin and placated him until he acquiesced? The girl in the back with black skin was angry and she wanted to get out, and you reassured her and said, “No no, it’s fine—he’ll give us a ride.”

Now, you wish you had stepped out of that cab instead of paying him. You wish you had thrown your finger in that driver’s face and spat “Cao ni!” But was that even yours to do? Is it because you’re pregnant and cold and it’s raining, or because, for once in your life, you’ve tasted just a pinch of discrimination? Perhaps, mostly, you’re ashamed of your own perpetual ignorance.

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