My favorite Thursday couple, smug but theoretically generous, sufficient to one another and seemingly self-contained, aspired to something more. To hear her talk of the baby was to be present at his creation. Of words she formed his little head with its wispy hair redolent of soap and spilled milk. She pressed the word Lips to the word Forehead and graced the baby’s path with choice and welcoming wide horizons. Yes, she was rhetorical. Yes, she had time on her hands. She wouldn’t be a casual mother, but too much planning had its perils, too, and she was nothing if not alive to the perils. The baby, the baby so long desired, the baby reluctant or eager, ready or not, was never consulted. At night in bed, her long warm body nestled along his long warm body insistently stirring, his arm around her waist and breath hot on her neck, she wanted to shake herself free of the future and fuck, but the baby, the unborn baby whose room was ready but whose parents were not, the baby was sleeping in ignorance too near, too lightly, and might wake if she did, might wake into fear in a dark room unfamiliar alone. She took his hand in hers and pressed it to her breast and hoped he’d fall asleep. The husband had no idea what she thought. He figured it was something to do with the nursery and painted it seven times over, once as an aquarium, once as a baseball diamond with fans in the stands, never guessing it was him she wanted to remodel. He had his visions of the future, too, and I grew tired of telling them their visions didn’t reconcile. They think next year may be the year. I hope for the baby’s sake.

Copyright © April 24, 2007 David Hodges