July 23, 2001
Fucking the Family Tree
Frogs and crickets and birds gathered around the cottage window where we
were celebrating our second wedding anniversary. They’re disgusting animals,
all of them. Little bones, little penises and animal-vaginas, crouching down
out there, fastening their scaly toes to our shutters. The sounds they made
seemed to meld into one separate creature. Cars joined in. Not the normal
driving sounds, but a fatty semi-liquid hum rolling down a pit just
outside our cottage. My thoughts drained into that giant hum, which
pulled and prodded me into perpetuating myself. That’s what Dave and I had
just agreed to do: get pregnant. Dave’s hands moved over me, but I couldn’t
feel them the hum had bled into his body, and his hands came to me like a
Dave was heavy on top of me. Gathering behind his cock were all his
ancestors: the red-faced older Italian relatives who don’t speak a word of
English but sure do like to eat and drink and we felt happy around them, and
then the ghosts of the Armenians who stayed behind and were massacred when
the rest came to America. Dave’s penis felt about two hundred degrees the
force of all those dead people and their dreams bore down on it, like
shooting a whole barrel of water through a straw. They were hunting for the
right spot inside me to fuse their warm, sweet Mediterranean blood with mine
cold and precise (three of my grandparents hail from Germany, and they
are not very funny). A brand new body will be filled with the mix. I hope
it’s a girl.
Dave paused inside me and said, “You really want to make a baby with me?”
I said, “Yup.” I felt happy, but I also felt like I was about to be
sacrificed to the Volcano gods. You don’t really discuss whether you’re
the right virgin to go to the gods, or whether you’re the right person
to be a mother, when you’re teetering at the mouth of the crater.
But then I guess Dave changed his mind, because he pulled out to put a
condom on. I thought nothing and my body turned limp. When it was over he
said, “Are you okay?” I said yeah and stared at the smoke detector light and
then I noticed the animals’ twittering and scraping had stopped.
My father came over. He’d heard I was pregnant; he was rubbing his hands.
“Look, you had four kids,” I said (I have three step-siblings), “and not one
of them will speak to you. You have four grandkids and not one is allowed to
see you. You blew your chances and I’m keeping this baby all to myself.”
“But I’m sad and lonely,” my father said.
“Why didn’t you ever talk like this before?”
“Because this is a dream.”
In the morning Dave’s hand accidentally landed between my legs and we did it
again, this time resentful, and this time unprotected. I had no idea
something so big could be done so uncertainly.