“I want to have a baby,” his wife said.
He shuttered the Disney Parks Employment site, sighed at the collapsing window of Central Florida rental properties and closed the laptop.
She sat a few feet away on the farthest edge of the couch, her legs tucked under her butt. She bounced enthusiastically like a small child, but when he looked at her he would see the seething anxiety, the fear that curled her toes, subtly prepared to bolt at the first sign of negativity.
He hadn’t looked at her yet. He fixed his gaze on the two cats tumbling and hissing on the floor. Stupid cats. They fight over the dumbest shit.
He stared blankly at his wife. He adored her when she was anxious. Her blue eyes glistened with the promise of tears. The corner of her thin but pouty lips curled and uncurled near imperceptibly, but he saw the twitch, and he loved its honesty.
“So we’re staying put then?” He asked.
He stroked his beard, let the initial panic subside. He loved her too much to argue. He owed her too much to let himself believe that he had a dog in this fight. The irony of such a thought nearly made him chuckle, but he knew she’d prefer not to earn a win so easily.
The cats were gone, went their separate ways again without a clear victor. He felt certain they’d taken their scrap to his insides. One cat tore at his wanderlust, rended his escapist soul. The other, probably the fat sadistic one, the one that picked the fights but whined about it, that chubby fuck shredded his material form. His bowels, ever a burbling wreck, clearly housed his basic, common instincts. An empathetic soul, sympathetic bowels…
“Is that okay?” she asked. The bouncing had ceased. Her toes whitened with pressure.
He stared some more, let the riot of cats tear at his insides. Marriage, a family, these were the only things he’d ever been certain he wanted from life. Disney programming ran deep… True Love, Happy Ever After. The Escape Plan had imagineered a life away. He’d been researching the move for months. A fresh start. A little distance from family drama. The Prodigal Son routine had real appeal.
“It’s just that,” she began. “My little nephews. I’m jealous. I don’t want to wait. We can still move though.”
She hadn’t needed to explain herself. She never explained herself. He appreciated the effort.
“No,” he said. He looked away, complicit but not yet compliant. “We can’t move. You want a baby. That’s fine. But we’ll need help. Maybe we’ll think about moving before the kid starts school.”
She settled into the corner of the couch. She stretched her legs across the cushions. Her feet flirted with his thigh.
He thought back to the drunken night he first thought he might just love her when those little feet had first found comfort in his lap. He grasped her squirming toes, pulled her feet up and on. He kneaded his frustration into her soles as love devoured his mindless frustration.