No charting basal temperature. No attempt to calculate ovulation. No checking under the microscope to see if the vaginal mucus was ferning. That was my decision after I gave up the donor bank. Just men. Selecting men without regard to possible danger. I wanted at least enough men so that there could be no calculating backwards to recall a single face wrenched in the lost pleasure of his ejaculation. There would be no one face made loveliest to me as I proclaimed him father. Always more than one, two or better still, a blur of chosen male faces in the months I made a child.
And, just as I suppose that a hunter crouched at dawn, waiting to see the pricked-up antlers, the flicked white tail, must come to love the beast, I loved every one. The slant of a forehead, the bone structure of a face, a train of thought, the line of a man’s calf. I was in the woods just outside the grazing herd. I was out there with hunger like a thrill through my body.
Nights, back in my empty rooms, I read about spiders and snakes, the mating practices of animals that were seldom tender. Even the lovely butterfly had less courtship than attack. I imagined the bright monarch in its pinned night-long copulation. And then there were nights, a man’s hand pressed against the small of my back, I was not the orange-vested hunter, but the beast, who too had killed, like every predator, with appetite and need.
The slope of shoulders. The open laugh and tilt of a chin. I saw the men for the boys they had been. I saw them for the way their faces might shift, becoming the face of a girl.
The roofer told me as he entered me that he wanted a wife. He had kept one wife a little while. “Now,” he whispered, his mouth damp against ear, “I want a wife forever.”
We were on a makeshift bed in his rambley, unfinished house. He had a face so beautiful I had made my selection seeing him walk up the aisle of the hardware store. He moved slowly trying to establish a rhythm with me.
I moved quickly.
“Slow down or you’ll lose me,” he whispered. “I want this to last. Let me give you more.” His body was steady, easy, domestic.
He touched my hair, saying, “I’ll take care of you,” and “Yes, that’s my baby.” His hands slipped under to hold my ass. He pulled close so that I was forced to move with him. Slower, until we were not moving at all. “Yes,” he said, “yes.”
I said, “No. Let me show you something.” Anything to get above him. First he held me below him, his hands snugging me up tightly against him. Then he let me turn him so that I sat on him. I posted up and down. The danger buzzer rang: fast, fast, get it and get away from this man fast.
“Slow it down, baby. You’re going to lose me,” he said.
“I need you in me,” I whispered. “Please, let yourself be in me.” I watched his eyes flicker shut, just little slits of white at the bottom. I watched his face as I lifted then lowered myself. His features each so exact they seemed to have a precise drawn outline.
He had been a wonderful choice.
After, he drifted, surfacing to whisper into my neck, “Baby, you took everything.”
Fast. Fast. Get away fast.
From Loverboy by Victoria Redel, published by Graywolf Press. Copyright © 2001 by Victoria Redel. By permission of Victoria Redel and the Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency.
Victoria Redel and Nerve.com