Sunday, 5 June 2011

This is How by Nicole Apel

This is how my daughter will be conceived.

I will be at a card table with three German girls in their twenties who I’ve never met. My close friend, Rebecca, will also be at the table. The three German girls and Rebecca will drink beer, I’ll have cranberry juice. Around us, there will be countless card tables full of people, but they won’t be paying attention to us. The venue will be something like a dance hall, but with high ceilings and no music. It will house about three-hundred people playing cards. And though nobody will seem to know why we ended up there, we will all be happy to be there.

I’ll be nervous at first. I’ll want a beer to ease myself, but I’ll order a cranberry juice instead. Rebecca and the German girls will encourage me to drink, but I’ll avoid their pressure. The cranberry juice will be refreshing; exactly what I’m after.

I’ll know a lot of people at the place, and most of them will be from my distant past. Occasionally I’ll get up to give a passerby a big hug, feeling no need to catch up. I’ll simply tell them how delighted I am to see them and then it will be back to the card table of mostly strangers.

The card table will be in the wrong location. We’ll need to move it to another place, more out of the main walkway. One of the German girls will be away while we’re moving it, and she’ll come back as we’re setting it in its place. She’ll put her beer down on the table and it will collapse. Her chair will go down with it, but the brown coat with a fur lip around the hood will stay on the chair. She’ll be upset with us, and we’ll calm her. We’ll set the table up again, and she’ll warily put her beer back down. After several minutes, she’ll forget that it ever happened.

Once the table is set in its new place, we’ll start playing cards. I won’t be familiar with the game we’re playing, but I’ll be able to play anyway with some help from the other girls. They’ll be very nice to me and I’ll feel like a child. They will have unbridled confidence; I will be their reserved companion. They will make jokes, and I’ll laugh. But I won’t laugh nearly as hard as any of them.

After some time, my husband, who has been playing at a different table, will touch me on the shoulder. He’ll ask softly if I’m ready to go, whispering in my ear. I’ll feel a rush of heat between my legs, tell him yes, and excuse myself from the table. The girls will whine and try to get me to stay. They’ll throw their arms on me, and I will be able to smell the stale beer on their breaths. I’ll tell them it was nice to meet them, and I’ll give Rebecca a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I’ll tell her that we will see each other again soon. I won’t know that it will be to celebrate my pregnancy.

My husband will take me to the car, and it will be very cold out. On the drive home, we’ll become warm and he will have his hand on my thigh. I’ll have my hand on his, slowly moving up and occasionally gripping it with my fingers. We will both be ready to rip our clothes off when we get home. And we will.

We’ll be hot and red and romantic and I won’t think about having missed my last three birth control pills. We’ll make love and the bed-sheets will be warm and we will feel our acute intimacy all the way in our toes. Then we’ll curl our naked feet up next to each other and sleep through the night.

Three weeks later, I will become concerned and I’ll take a test. It will be positive, and we will be nervous. I’ll go to the doctor alone and he will tell me that everything will be okay.

About the Author: Nicole Apel is a lover of all things Latin America and has trouble not quitting jobs because of it. She also likes to write, learn about medicine, and hike mountains.

Photo Credit: 'Ovum' by Richard Mohler