LUCY CORIN
Baby
   

You two are alike as eggs, people are always saying. But one small, one big. Sisters who could share clothes except. Are you sisters? People are always saying.

Both are physicists, except one’s applied and one’s theoretical.

One is not mature (throws fits, won’t button up, can’t fly right) and one will put an arm around her and say “sugar,” like clockwork, or a fool in the wind. Because while one’s sweet one’s kind of a jerk.

They’re going through their things because they want a baby and who should have it?

One has brothers. Let’s list attributes: Buck’s handsome, Tom’s kind, Sam’s never sick. Like a logger, like a turnip, as an ox. One has friends: George works in Africa, Barton’s a playboy, Heinrich doesn’t come out of his shed. If they’re secretly eying a sperm bank they won’t admit it. They don’t like the odds. They call it a crapshoot. They’d rather play god if possible. Again, scientists.

“You, you, you,” they say into each other’s faces when they’re happy and when they’re mad.

People are always saying, what if you end up with two? Or four? Or more!

You only go into physics if you think you can figure it out.

One’s younger, one’s older, but not much.

One has genes that make her small and wary of her body.

One has the hips for it and can swim a mile.

One is afraid of what the baby will say about her mother.

One is rough, and tumbles like a dog.

One has a way with teens and one is a whiz in the kitchen (especially baking).

One has a therapist and one has an active ex. You know what? They can’t figure it out. They decide on an experiment, they’ll both go for it, it’ll be up to them, and fate, then they’ll know, they don’t know what, they’ll know something, they’ll know one thing.

They take the drugs and collect basters. They take their temperatures in separate bathrooms. They collect and horde sperm culled from private deals in dead night, sign contracts composed by lawyers from their days in school. They begin to see other doctors and their calendars grow increasingly encoded. They spend their money down and pace their carpeted apartment.

Now, when they lie on their sides they eye each other’s bellies as if. When they cuddle up all they think of is being round.

One is two steps ahead. One is throwing the match. No one knows which.

People are always saying, what are you thinking?

But something is changing inside. They are turning their backs to us or to each other. They are walking into the future, into a great pink egg light.

 

 


Lucy Corinís novel, Everyday Psychokillers: A History for Girls, was published by FC2 in 2004. Her collection of short stories, The Entire Predicament, is forthcoming in October from Tin House Books. Her short stories have been published in numerous journals, including Ploughshares, The Iowa Review, The Mid-American Review, and Conjunctions, and were anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of Innovative Narrative (Iowa University Press, 1994) and New Stories for the South: The Yearís Best (Algonquin Books, 1997 and 2003). Currently, she teaches English at the University of California, Davis.