A scrunched up face and a spoiled baby voice.
It makes me smile just to think of it.
She does it because she knows I think it's cute. She does it because she knows it makes me laugh out loud. Mostly I think she does it because she knows it makes me feel like a big strong man to carry my wife.
—————- For as long as I can remember, Heizy has made a habit of forcing me to carry her. Over the threshold, through the door of every new apartment we move into, up any hill with a slight incline.
Nowadays it's a little more difficult. Heizy is eight and half months pregnant with our first child. I'm worried I might hurt her — worse, drop her. I'm scared I might squash the little boy hiccupping inside her belly. All I can do for now is grab her hands and pull her up when she needs to readjust, when she needs to climb out of bed. When she needs to clamber from the confines of our stupidly comfy couch.
But in New Super Mario Bros. U — in the video game — I can still totally carry my wife. She looks a little more like a yellow mushroom man than a heavily pregnant woman, and she's a little lighter. But I can carry her nonetheless.
There's no scrunched up face this time. Just a functional request. The later levels of New Super Mario Bros. U are actually punishingly difficult, particularly for someone who just recently discovered Mario's 'run' button. We charge into one another, knock each other off small platforms, shout at each other. But mostly we just laugh — and blame the absolute shit out each other when things go arse up.
She knows I think it's cute, that it makes me feel like a big strong man. Hold the '1' button, give the controller a shake, Mario picks her up. Now Heizy is on my shoulders. Now I get to show her all the cool little tricks a lifetime of playing Super Mario has taught me.
I run as fast as possible, I find the secrets, I gather the coins, I try my level best to make it all look effortless. We've been married for over five years now, together for eight. Never underestimate the primordial, biological need for a boy to look cool in front of a girl he likes. It's the only reason we do anything in this world. It's the reason I'm playing Mario with my wife, who hates Mario.
—————- "Carry me!"
It's the least I can do. She's been carrying our child for almost nine months. And sooner than I can bear to understand or even imagine we'll be shell-shocked, carrying the baby she has given birth to home for the very first time.