Searching for Swimmers–Chapter 9

The cool breeze floated through the open window and into the dining room. The dinner table was dressed up but not with any extra extravagance. The naked table had six chairs and three woven place mats, all of them a pastel orange, which brought out the vibrancy of the dark oak. The couple had never used the extra leaf of the table. Even when they had dinner parties, it was always a small number, no more than the six-person table could accommodate. Two place mats were set on opposite ends of the long sides of the table. The couple thought it ridiculously formal to sit at the heads of the table when it was just the two of them. The third place mat sat in the center of the table with a vase full of sunflowers on top of it.

            The empty plates, which once contained a light dinner salad with balsamic vinegar, had been set aside to make room for the main course, vegetable ravioli with a zucchini and mushroom marinara sauce. 

            “Honey, we have a lot of options.” His words were muffled since, out of habit, he’d placed his hand over his mouth while he both spoke and chewed.

            The wife took a large swallow from her wine glass. “Maybe the world’s just trying to tell us something.”

            “Yes.” He put down his fork in mid-bite. “That we should find another way.”

            “You know that’s not what I meant.”

            He took his napkin from his lap and placed it on the table, then leaned forward. “You want this, right?”

            “I’m not sure anymore.” She leaned back in her chair, wine glass in hand and diverted her eyes from her husband to her untouched food.

            “What aren’t you sure about?”

            “Well, for starters, what happens when she turns eighteen? I won’t have her changing our diapers.”

            He laughed and leaned back in his chair, wine glass in hand. “She?”

            “Well, yeah.” A smile creased her face. “Beatrice, after my mom.”

            His eyebrows raised. “Already have the name and sex picked out, but you’re not sure,” he said doubtfully. “Look, I’ve made a few calls and already have a great cryobank lined up.”

            She leaned forward, placed her wine glass on the table, and looked up into her husband’s eyes. “Yeah, but what about me?”

            “What about you?”

            “You really think that I can do it?” Her eyes fell to the table. “That I’m not too old?”

            “You’re not the problem. I am. I’m sure you can handle it, and if we find out you can’t, we’ll find another way.”



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