“Jeff, wake up.”
I rolled over and pulled the pillow over my head. “It’s so early.”
“There’s something here I think you should see.”
She grabbed the pillow, and when I opened my eyes the scene came into focus. Sarah was sitting on the edge of the bed with a weird smile, which was alarming, because she never sits on the edge of the bed with a weird smile unless she’s about to ask me to carry in a bunch of stuff from the car.
“What time is it?”
“Six. Look. I took this test.”
A test? At six in the morning?
“Take a look.”
On top of the rumpled sheet were two long white things, which I mistook for thermometers. She had been sick lately, and I figured she had been taking her temperature. Twice, for some reason. When I blinked, the thermometers turned into something more interesting: home pregnancy tests.
I sat up.
I’d witnessed a few of these things before, and every time I’d get excited and we’d hold hands and watch for a little blue line that never came. Usually, after 10 minutes of staring at the stick, Sarah would give up and go back to doing laundry, leaving me to stare at the thing alone until I admitted the little piece of plastic knew more than I did.
Only this time, there was a blue line. Or rather, two blue lines. I could feel the breath knocked out of me: because I knew I’d always remember this moment, this morning, those two lines. I found out later that she had taken the test twice because she didn’t believe the first one, but in my groggy state I was under the impression that it meant we were having twins.
Pragmatic to the end, Sarah pitched the pregnancy tests, hugged me, and went to work, leaving me alone to contemplate What It All Meant. It didn’t take long to pinpoint the exact day of conception: a Saturday afternoon in a Marriott during Suzanne and Ieuan’s wedding weekend in Wichita. Not the best sex we ever had, nor the worst. There was no Marvin Gaye or talk of babies, nor what position would be most likely to create one. It was just sex.
We haven’t been trying for long, a few months maybe, but we’ve had all the conversations about sperm counts and fertility and ovulating and whatnot, and every time Sarah got her period I hung my head. The truth is, I had no clue what was happening inside her body, and no amount of sex ed or experience could’ve helped. Last week, Sarah saw me brooding over the fact that I had not impregnated her yet. “You do know it usually takes months after going off the pill to get your hormone production back to normal and start ovulating,” she said. This sounded plausible, but then again she could have told me it took three to five years, and I would have shrugged and asked her to pass the ketchup.
But now: the blue lines.
My wife is pregnant. And I am an Arabian stallion. I look taller in the mirror, my voice sounds deep and full, and well, manly. On the El, I am the most potent man in my car, peering over my Trib at other guys and comparing my prowess to theirs based on absolutely nothing. (“Oh, did he impregnate his wife?”) It’s like the major league version of losing your virginity, and it feels great.