Read Previous: Making Babies
Taking Enfantil had an electrifying effect on Matha and John’s sex life. Now they fucked with a purpose. The pills were too expensive to waste.
Martha began to shed the notion that sex was something done in a particular place after a particular sequence. Did she want to look back and regret that she had no children because she was too prim to fuck in a telephone box? Hell no. And so she did.
To her surprise John - who was a rather straight laced accountant - embraced her goal. The Enfantil was a fool proof way of getting his attention. If he became engrossed in football statistics – as he often did now that they frequented the pub - a quick rummage of the handbag and a slip of a pill would have him downing his pint and hailing the first dodgy minicab that curb crawled them outside.
John was delighted to find that Martha had become amenable to risky behaviour. She no longer batted his hand away when he touched her up under the table at restaurants. One night they climbed the fences of Regents Park and made love in the children’s playground, cramped up inside the wendy house, simply because they couldn’t get home before the efficacy of the Enfantil wore off. When Martha sucked him off on the top deck of a northbound number 29 bus (granted, they were the only passengers) John began to think perhaps the tablets were taking their toll, but it was so blissful, so exhilarating, he didn’t want to stop.
The nurse at the fertility clinic had said there were no complaints. No wonder.
This was the surging up side. The down side came with the monthly bleeds. Whenever it happened Martha would open the cupboard and count the diminishing stack of Enfantil boxes.
It was on just such a morning that she got a text from her sister Mary. Mary was the wild one who left school at sixteen, slept around and then set off to conquer the world with a boyfriend and a backpack. The boyfriend was left in India, the backpack in Thailand. Now Mary lived in Australia on the other side of the world.
Martha imagined Mary sitting in a bathroom like hers, in the evening instead of the morning, sending her message: pregnant. txt mum & dad 4 me.
It was too much.
“What’s wrong?” John asked, half dressed for work.
Martha showed him the message.
“Don’t worry,” he said, giving her shoulder a squeeze. “We’ll be sending a text like that soon.”
“But suppose the Enfantil doesn’t work? Suppose it’s just a con? I mean, how can a blow job get me pregnant?”
John had no answer to that so he went to work.
Martha spent the day at work investigating Enfantil. All she could find was the fertility clinic’s website. The information given mirrored their welcome pack. Martha took the box of Enfantil from her handbag and typed in a search on the consultant who issued the prescription. It returned an article questioning his ethics and the validity of his research.
Martha felt her anger rising. Science could fix everything. Coulnd’t it? She was hitting boiling point when John messaged her.
‘Where are we meeting?’
‘Have you taken an Enfantil?’
‘No.’ Then. ‘Don’t want to.’
Martha was about to jab out an answer when Ivan, a co-worker, stopped by her desk. “Hey, Martha. You look down. We’re going to Detroit Blue for happy hour. Wanna join us?”
Martha looked at Ivan’s broad shoulders and wondered if he could give her a baby. Her phone vibrated.
It was John. ‘Where are you?’
Some of the office girls joined Ivan.
Her phone vibrated again. Martha glanced at it.
John. Again. ‘Talk to me.’
Would John know if she had a quick one with Ivan? Was the baby more important than the father?
Ivan put on his scarf. “Are you coming?”
“Not today.” Martha held up her phone by way of apology.
“Suit yourself.” Ivan left with the girls.
Martha went to the toilets to change her products but when she did she found the bleeding had stopped.
The flat was dark when she got home. A path of tea lights led from the hall to the bedroom. A glass of wine with a ‘drink me’ sign had been left on the bookcase where Martha kept her keys.
“Come in here. I’ve got something to show you.”
Martha sighed. “John. I’m not in the mood. Really.”
“You’ll change your mind when you see it.”
“What?” Martha shed her coat and picked up the glass of wine.
John was in the bedroom. Dressed. Next to him were two plates and a chocolate cake from Patisserie Valerie. A very special treat. He must have crossed town to get it.
“I know you’ve had a rough day,” he said gently. “I thought, maybe some cake and a back rub?”
In the end John rubbed more than Martha’s back but it all felt good.
The next morning Martha felt awful. So awful she rang in sick and spent the morning rushing to the toilet to wretch the remains of cake and red wine. Never ever ever again. Never.
While searching for pain killers in the bathroom cabinet, Martha knocked the stack of Enfantil packets. They fell, bringing down a pregnancy test.
In the beginning, Martha bought the tests singly. As the boxes of Enfantil dwindled along with her hope of conception she moved on to twin packs. It was cheaper that way. She picked up the box. Might as well throw it away. But it wasn’t empty. Might as well pee on it first. A waste of money otherwise.
In her blurry hungover state, Martha watched the indicator window. She squinted. Checked and re-checked the instructions. She could hardly control her shaking. Yes.
Her fingers blundered the phone keypad. It was her turn to send THAT text. Their designer baby was on its way.
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