“So, are you planning to have children?”
I sigh. I am ten years married, in my thirties, and childless. People always assume there’s a story there. I just shrug and take a long sip of my coffee. My companion bulges her eyes at me and gasps as though I’ve told her I plan to put a hit out on my husband. She slams her coffee mug on the table so forcefully a bit of brown liquid sloshes over the rim.
“Are you serious? Honey, I don’t mean to be blunt but…”
I brace myself.
“…you don’t have much time. You’re almost 35. It’s all downhill after that. I have a friend who didn’t start trying to get pregnant until she was 40. It took five years for her to get pregnant and now she has techno-triplets.”
“I’m sorry, what?”
“Techno-triplets. You know, the women who wait too long and have to go on fertility drugs or do IVF and end up with multiples. You should see her now. She’s in her fifties, on the playground, chasing around a trio of kindergartners. People think she’s their grandma. It’s a freakshow.”
“And this woman is supposedly your friend? Charming.”
“Look, I’m just saying that it gets harder as you get older. I want you to be realistic.”
“And I want you to understand that I’m not going to make major life decisions based on what a calendar says. I’m more than a womb. My value as a woman doesn’t have an expiration date and isn’t dependent on when or if I give birth.”
“I’m not saying it does. I just don’t want you to look back and have regrets.”
“Do you regret your children?”
Her eyes narrow and she stares at me disdainfully. “That’s not something you ask someone,” she says in a whisper.
I jerk from my seat, rattling the table between us. “But it’s okay to ask me whatever you want? I’m less because I’m not a mom?” She’s silent. Her bottom lip quivers but I don’t care. “Don’t ever speak to me again.” My voice is steely. I turn to leave but I feel her clasp my wrist.
“Wait,” she pleads. Her face is crumpled. I sit slowly, but stay on the edge of my chair as though I’m preparing to make a run for it at any moment.
“I love my babies so much. I do. But when they were small…I never told anyone this…I left. I got in the car and drove to the coast and stayed there for the weekend, alone. I turned off the phone. The kids were fine, they were with my husband…but I just needed…I…”
I put my hand over hers. “I can’t survive another miscarriage.” It’s the first time I’ve uttered the m-word since that horrible day. I never told a soul. We stare at each other for a few seconds, not speaking, on the brink of the first honest conversation we’ve ever had.
The Story A Day prompt this week is:
Write A List Of Song Titles You’d Actually Be Interested In Listening To
Write The Story Of The Character In That Song