“Well, we did. One time. His birthday, of course. As if being born is something that needs to be commended.”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about Easton. My husband.”
“I don’t even know what I said. Can you just listen to me? Can you? I’m not getting any younger here, and neither are you. Lizzie Sommers has two, and her daughter-in-law is Chinese.”
“I’m really not sure what that has to do with anything.”
“Is it a sperm issue? You know, I always suspected that Easton smoked marijuana. It’s very common among athletes, according to Margie.”
“MOM. Please.” Not that we hadn’t had our own fears about that issue. Fears that were quickly dissolved by a doctor’s test which showed my husband to be an Olympic athlete of sperm production.
“And what’s he doing now? I saw on Facebook that he’s changed companies again. Did he get fired?”
“It’s the same company. They just merged with someone else and changed names.” Here it was, the transition of our conversation from my childless state to criticism of my husband. I was tired of it. Tired of all of it. Was there a point in life when you could fire your parents? How long did you have to appreciate their sacrifices for? I made a mental vow, if I ever could conceive and birth a child, to respect their decisions and keep my opinions to myself.
“I just don’t think that finance is the right job for him. He’s not a numbers person. Remember your wedding? The catering bill? When he didn’t calculate in the service fee?”
Oh my God. It’d been five years. And back then, we’d been blowing money as if we were made of it. All things I couldn’t tell my mother, not when I was working my ass off to maintain the carefully fabricated illusion that we were still financially secure.
I bit back a response and moved into the turn lane, tailing a yellow Prius with more Bernie Sanders stickers than paint. “Mom, I’m late to a dermatologist appointment and in horrible traffic. Let me focus on the road and I’ll talk to you later.”
There was the customary disappointed silence, then a big sigh of defeat. “Fine. I’ll tell your father that you said hi.”
I added on an extra I love you, and still left the conversation feeling guilty and insufficient. Maybe that was every mother’s duty—to make us better by pointing out our deficiencies. If so, she had nailed motherhood from the start, and I had big plans to skip that duty altogether.
I stood still, my bare feet curling against the cool tile floor, and waited as the doctor ran his hands down my back. “This…” he said thoughtfully. “Have you been keeping an eye on this?” He swirled a finger around a spot on the middle of my back. “I don’t remember seeing it at our previous session.”
I twisted to look in the full-length mirror, unable to see the item in question. “I’m not sure.”
He wheeled back and lifted his clipboard, consulting my last exam sketch. “I’m going to take a photo of it for now.” He set down the board and moved closer. There was a quick flash and the sound of a shutter.
I faced forward again, closing my eyes as he moved my hair to one side and ran a rough thumb over the spot. He hummed in contemplation.
“Do you need me to undo my bra?”
I felt both of his hands now, running under the band of my bra and sliding the delicate fabric up by an inch. “No, I can work around it.” The new position made the underwire cut into my ribs, and I looked down to see my breasts projected out at an exaggerated angle. I wasn’t a busty girl, but at this angle, I looked freakishly stacked.
“Nothing there.” He moved the bra strap back into place and sighed as his fingers ran down the curve of my lower back, hitting the top seam of my panties. I’d dressed with this appointment in mind. Black lace had seemed too sexy, so I’d gone with white cotton, the panties a flattering but modest bikini style – the bra a conservative style with a hidden underwire.
I imagined his hand drifting lower, pulling my panties to the side and sliding his touch along the crack of my ass. Bend forward, Mrs. North. This may require a more thorough exam. He’d part me with those long talented fingers. Dip one inside me and marvel at the tight fit. Then a second. Have you always been so responsive, Mrs. North?
Do you like it when I touch you there?
How about here?
I steeled myself against the fantasy, trying to push it away and focus on a container of cotton balls, set along the back of the counter. I didn’t need this, not right now. I pinched my eyes shut and it forced its way back in.