UltraMicrotome Chekhov

I was arguing in the car with my husband about his best friend. His wife had cried to me over the phone. “Can you believe it? He said that making love to me is like caviar, but sometimes he wants herring.”

What a stupid fuck. Taking the side of a friend who’s been sleeping around is generally not a good idea, especially ill-advised if your wife is pregnant and getting an ultrasound. He laughed, “He complimented her. What’s wrong with tasting like caviar?”

I unbuttoned my jacket and rubbed my stomach. I’d already had two miscarriages. “That’s not the point, Wallace.” The doctor wanted to check on the baby’s development. “How can you laugh about what he’s doing? How d’you think you would feel if I were sleeping around?”

For the last fifteen minutes we’d been searching for a parking spot. I don’t remember why Wallace didn’t park in the hospital lot. Maybe we were running late. “That’s a joke! Not in your condition.” So annoying. He laughed again.

“As far as I’m concerned, she’s got more going for her in her little pinky finger than he does in his dick head.” Marta looked like a Russian Orthodox icon even if I couldn’t stand her unwavering devotion to designer brands. She also was a kick-ass accountant.

He spotted a parking spot across the street from the hospital and moved to grab it. “You’re wrong. That’s what Russian guys do. It’s a cultural thing.”

“You mean she should enjoy being treated like shit because it’s a cultural thing?”

“Things are never simple between couples. You never know what’s happening.” He was about to pull into the spot when a silver Lincoln cut in front. Wallace was pissed. He double-parked and got out of the car. He was an imposing man, over six feet. I saw him bend down to the driver’s window and then walk back quickly.

“What’s up?”

“He pulled out a gun.”

“You’re shitting me!” I turned around and gave the man the finger, grabbed a pen from the glove compartment and scribbled his license plate number on my palm. “I’m going to report him.”

Everything that day felt urgent. We found another spot and finally got to the hospital where the doctor rubbed warm gel on my abdomen and asked if I had drunk four glasses of water that morning; still shaking from the gun episode, a question to which I answered, “Yes.” I lay on a white sheet and watched the monitor over my right shoulder, a little fish attached to my umbilical cord, bumping up and down to the rhythm of my heart. Stumpy arms and legs. The doctor called them buds. Amazing how an embryo can breathe under water.

“Your baby looks healthy,” said the doctor. We’d already knew it was a girl. “No abnormality.” But I didn’t feel that way, wondering if I was wrong staying with Wallace even if I were pregnant, even though I knew I didn’t love him.

About Lenore Weiss

Lenore's collections include "Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail" (2011) from Finishing Line Press, “Sh’ma Yis’rael” (2007) from Pudding House Publications, and "Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island" (West End Press, 2012). Her writing has won recognition from Poets&Writers (finalist in California Voices contest) and as a finalist for Pablo Neruda Prize, Nimrod International Journal. The Society for Technical Communication has recognized her work regarding Technical Literacy in the schools. All material is copyrighted on this site and cannot be used without the author's permission.
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