Thirty Something D.I.N.K
By A.R McKinnon
Megan clutched the non-descript white paper bag with trembling fingers knowing that its contents had the power to change her life. She released a heavy sigh, eyeing her reflection in the mirror. She liked her life – was finally comfortable in her own skin and didn’t want anything to change.
With a growing sense of desperation she flipped through the pages of her personal planner, certain that she must have missed the small red dot that marked her period. On what seemed like the hundredth trip through the pages her heart fluttered in her chest, like the wings of a caged bird testing the confines of its prison. It wasn’t there and no amount of wishing would make it appear. She splashed water on her face; her skin was both clammy and flushed.
At thirty-two her biological clock should have been in full alarm – never mind ticking but she had been hitting the snooze button for so long she was sure her eggs were well past their expiration date or deep freeze for that matter and if she got her way they wouldn’t be thawed any time soon.
“Don’t you think it’s about time to start the family expansion?” She could almost hear the high pitched hopeful question her mother in-law voiced at every family gathering. “It would be really nice to become a grandma this year.”
Married less than two years and already her mother in-law was trying to saddle her with rug-rats. Forget the career she was trying to carve out for herself. She should pop out a kid and pray that by the time she was ready to go back to work some shark filling her maternity leave hadn’t taken her job right out from under her.
Her family had helpfully pointed out that David would make a great stay at home dad – and he would that was half the problem. His words from that long ago day eight years ago still haunted her.
“I’d like enough for my own football team one day.”
She had laughed thinking he was kidding. “Let me know how that works out for you!”
The subject had come up from time to time over the years but it hadn’t seemed like a big deal. She hadn’t ended up with the ring on her finger through false pretences. He had known all along how she felt.
He had made her promise to consider that the pitter-patter of little feet would be a possible part of their future, and she had considered it. She was just more content with the pitter-patter of paws.
Their fat spoiled silver tabby was her child as far as she was concerned, more independent than a baby or even a dog would be and perfectly suited for their lifestyle.
She looked around her beloved condo. If they had a baby, where the hell would they put it? Bye, bye home office, hello nursery? She didn’t think so! How did she dare tell David though?
He wanted a baby, wanted to be a father. Hell he went all googly-eyed and mushy any time he was within fifty feet of a baby.
Her stomach rolled with fear-laced dread. Could he have done this? Was it possible that it wasn’t an accident? She hadn’t been able to take oral contraceptives for the past three years and had to remind him to don protection on a number of occasions.
She shoved the thought away. He would never! To force such a thing would be evil, but wasn’t her refusal to have a baby just as bad?
Perhaps not evil – but cruel at the very least, and if she never changed her mind would he grow tired of her refusal? Would he start looking for someone who would give him the family he craved?
She threw down the bag on the counter her emotions on a rollercoaster and stalked to the kitchen all glass and chrome – not suitable for children at all. Certainly not where a mother would bake cookies!
She poured a glass of her favourite merlot and took a sip, the flavour filling her mouth before she remembered herself and spat the contents into the sink.
Her entire body shook with the realization of what she had almost unwittingly done.
How could she have been so stupid? Just because she didn’t want a baby didn’t mean that she would intentionally harm one. If she was even pregnant. “If”, such a small word capable of filling her with intense fear.
“Get a grip, You don’t know that there is a baby!” The sound of her own voice alone in the condo startled her into action. No point in sitting here worrying about fictitious babies! She plunked the wine glass on the counter cringing at the sharp crack that accompanied the movement.
Well see, that proved it mothers didn’t break glasses. certainly not their best glassware. Mothers were – well they were motherly, nurturing. That just wasn’t her.
Friends could call her a child hater all they wanted but there was nothing wrong with her not having wanted kids at her wedding. There was nothing wrong with wanting to enjoy a meal in a restaurant without kids screaming at the next table, behaving like monkeys hanging from trees, waiting for the opportune moment to fling their own feces.
There was nothing wrong with her. She still had value as a woman! Better still, she could sleep ’til noon on Saturday, if she wanted.
With eleven people in David’s family there was so much pressure to add branches to the family tree, and with only one month lacking a birthday his family had even decreed when she should become pregnant.
She felt the hot spill of tears leaving tracks on her cheeks and wanted to scream in helpless frustration. No matter what happened, or what choice was made, someone had to relent. They couldn’t both have their own way.
Back in the bathroom she tore open the pregnancy test quickly scanning the instructions. She took a deep breath and shoved the stick into her stream of urine.
A hysterical laugh bubbled up from her throat. Nothing like squatting over a stick to make the biggest decision of your life.
She balanced the stick on the edge of the counter afraid to check the results. She could hear the relentless ticking of her wrist watch. It was the longest two minutes of her life.
The jangle of his keys in the front door were a welcome distraction. Snatching up the stick she stepped out of the bathroom to greet him. They had a lot to discuss.