April 26, 2010

Making Babies

“Look, see I’m ovulating.”

Kate slid her iPhone toward me. “It’s a fertility tracker.”  Within a calendar of the current month, an icon of a glowing egg sat in the current day’s square.

“Wow. There really is an app for everything.”

We were drinking in a small booth at a retro cocktail lounge, down some steep steps from a nondescript metal door opening to the street. Kate drank a gimlet, me a bourbon and bitters. The place was going for a speakeasy-slash-golden-age-of-advertising sensibility, but they overreached by playing the Andrews Sisters on the loudspeakers.

Just a few minutes earlier, Kate had said that she wasn’t sure if she wanted kids yet.

“I love my new job,” she told me. “I actually have an impact there. Plus, I’m thinking of moving, buying a place. If I had a baby now my whole life would come to a crashing stop.”

“There’s never a perfect time to have a baby. At least that’s people who make babies tell me.”

“Jim isn’t ready yet.” Jim was her younger boyfriend.

“So it’s about Jim?”

“Maybe.”

“You’d make a great mom.”

“I know! I have three cats; I’ve been practicing. My gynecologist says I can still have a baby.”

“How old are you again?”

“Forty.”

We’d known each other for years. Once we thought we’d become a couple, but she had a stormy mood. Once she threw me into a taxicab and rushed me to the hospital after I complained at dinner that my heart was skipping beats. I lay in the heart ward for two nights, one of them with Al, “80 years young!” in the next bed. Once she got lost trying to find the vegetarian restaurant where I waited hours for her. For some reason she blamed me and we didn’t talk for three years. At the end of three years she gave me a reconciliation fuck.

“Look, if you think you want a baby, you have to do it now, even if you’re not sure.”

“I know, you’re right.”

“If you don’t try you’ll always regret not trying. You’re walking around with a fertility tracker.

Kate looked at her fertility tracker.

“I know. Do you ever want to have a baby?”

“I’m pretty sure, yes. A child to bury me. Yes, I’ll have another one of these, please. And another one for the lady.

“I’m going to be 41 soon.”

“I don’t know, Kate. It’s not fair to yourself to wait for Jim. You’re going to do the same thing for the rest of your life? At an ad agency, managing kids? I know I’m bored with my life. I know I need to go outside of myself.”

“This friend of mine, this guy, I showed him the tracker and he copied the dates into his phone. He said he’d be up for making a baby. He’s getting older, too.”

“Don’t remind me. Older. Lonelier. Bitterer.”

“Hahaha — bitterer. You’re funny.”

“Funny.”

“I just have to tell Jim I’m going to cheat on him to have a baby.”

“Sign me up. I’ll do it. Call me the next time that glowing egg shows up.”

“Really? I’ve got two willing victims now!”

“You need to talk to Jim.”

“I guess I’ll talk to Jim.”