“When are you going to give me a grandchild?”
Aaron’s mother’s voice is demanding, too loud. It pricks at Ann’s eardrums, making her want to dig them out with a sharpened spork. And is she really asking her this? Too hot heat creeps up her neck and across her cheeks. Margie apparently wants to know if Ann’s screwing her son regularly.
She now has this strange picture of her frosty, blonde mother-in-law hovering over her bed, giving pointers to Aaron as they make love. Just a little to the right, honey. Orgasm improves your chances of conceiving, don’t you know?!
Ugh. She may never have sex with her husband again. That’ll serve his mother right.
“Oh, uh. We’re working on it.”
She can’t believe she just said that. She’s admitted to schtupping this woman’s son. A lot. Well, it’s not like she told her about that thing he does with his, well, never mind. At this point, she’s so nervous of the words that might ooze out of her mouth, she’s considering faking stomach cramps to get out of the room.
“Good. Terry and Lynn had babies right away, you know?”
Yeah, she knows. Everybody knows. Terry and Lynn have six kids and live in a rat-infested shack on the shitty side of town. But that’s how it is with Margie – she doesn’t measure worth by how nice someone is or the good things they do or the way Ann worships her son. No, she hasn’t gotten knocked up yet after three years of marriage, so somehow she’s inferior to the man who lost his last job because he fell asleep at the wheel of a moving forklift and a woman who thinks Chef Boyardee is “high falutin’.”
And, please: her uterus is not a clown car. She doesn’t want six kids in one go or over six years, no matter how much her mother-in-law wants a grandbaby.
“Yep. That’s right.”
Margie goes off on a diatribe about the smell of baby, which Ann has always thought to be the odor of puke and talcum powder, but Margie insists is the smell of heaven.
Heaven must smell like used diaper. Or maybe Chef Boyardee.
Aaron catches her eye from across the living room. He has the enviable task of playing video games with his dad, while Ann has to entertain his mother. Will it be entertaining if she hurls knives at the woman’s head?
Ann realizes Margie is staring at her, expecting some pearl of wisdom, perhaps some indication that she’s fertile. She hasn’t been listening during the last few moments, so she just smiles and nods, pretending to have a clue and give a crap.
Margie’s puppy-eyed smile dims a little, and she turns to Susan, now cowering in her chair. Suck it up, Ann mentally tells her. She’s your mother-in-law now too. Susan had the misfortune of marrying Aaron’s little brother two weeks ago. He looks just like Ann’s father-in-law, just like the rest of the boys do… so much so that Ann often wonders if Margie bought them off the black market or talked at some poor chippy until she had sex with her husband.
She’s relentless, that one.
“What about you?” The screechiness is back, and the hope is thick as pudding – or maybe the viscosity of super-fertile cervical mucus Margie’d been rambling about thirty minutes ago. “You better get busy making little babies for me.”
Susan stares at her blankly for a second before a gush of tears pours down her face. “I’m… I’m not able to have kids!” she stammers, bolting from the table, muttering something about her uterus and the stars aligning and witch doctors.
That smart bitch, Ann thinks sourly. Why didn’t I think of that?
Over the years Nicole Wolverton has served as a money-whisperer for health and human-serving related nonprofits, wrangler of Italian pastry and accountants (not at the same time), and schlepper of unloved platform shoes. Currently she keeps a roof over her head as a freelance writer and nonprofit fundraising consultant. Nicole lives in Philadelphia, PA with her husband, dog, and two cats and attended Temple University. Her fiction has appeared at The Molotov Cocktail. See more of her work at nicolewolverton.com.