was just starting to show and the arguments ensued.
want to know," she said, fretting over the color of the nursery
and a thousand other details that would otherwise take years to
what difference does it make?" Steven asked, tipping back a
green bottle of beer and staring at the television. He didn't want
to make eye contact with his wife as she stood in the doorway that
separated the living room from the kitchen with her hands on her
hips as she tapped her foot to an agitated tune.
the difference in the world," she said.
Would you get rid of it?" he asked, tipping the bottle back
again, emptying half of the beer in one swallow.
of course not," Amanda said, walking across the living room
and she sat heavily on the couch. She wanted to hold Steve's hand,
but one hand held the remote control and the other that green bottle
you think," she continued as she twirled a lock of her long
and frazzled black hair, "that it would make things easier,
you know, if we knew what to expect, and besides our age, there's
always a greater risk for complications
still," and his voice trailed off as he stomped in his stocking
feet to the refrigerator. He figured she would be distracted now
and wouldn't chastise him for drinking two beers in rapid fire succession,
"we'll still keep it, I mean, we've been trying for so long,
and I don't want to ruin it, you know, the thrill of it all and
know you," she sat upright, "you just don't want to spend
the money on all those tests."
the extra tests weren't covered by his insurance, and the thought
of spending extra money on something he couldn't eat or drink or
ride or wear or watch did cause a certain amount of anxiety.
no, that's not it, it's just, it's just, you know," and he
emptied the second green bottle in three swallows and he was forced
to stifle what was sure to be a loud belch.
you love me you'll do it, you'll let me do it, you'll want to do
it, if you love me
never had any firepower to answer the old "if you love me"
bit. He let out a deep sigh and his body sagged in resignation.
he said, "we'll do it, we'll get the tests." And he used
her squeal of delight as an excuse to return to the refrigerator
and crack open another bottle of green beer.
made the appointment the very next day, and he left work early to
sit with her and hold her hand while she waited anxiously in the
waiting room for the results that would be immediate.
tests were done at the hospital, and she just loved to go to the
hospital. She just loved all the attention that one received, she
loved the soft leather chairs in the waiting rooms and the marble
floors of the concourses and the brass fixtures and the soft lights
recessed in the paneled walls and tiled ceiling.
the tests were rather simple, a long needle was strategically placed
through her barely protruding stomach and the doctor guided the
needle as an ultrasound technician kept a bead on the still microscopic
needle pierced the womb, ever so slightly, and drew just the tiniest
amounts of bodily fluid from the fetus. That fluid was run through
a battery of computer aided tests, tests that broke down the genetic
makeup of the forthcoming baby.
results were generated in less than an hour, and the administering
physician called them into his office that was adjacent to the lab.
The couple followed the doctor into his office, still holding hands
and the wife looked with admiration on all the certificates and
diplomas scattered on the wall, as well as pictures of tropical
and exotic locales.
you take those pictures Dr. Huntley?" she asked as she dropped
into one of the two chairs in front of the doctor's desk, dragging
her husband down into the next chair.
did, last year, my trip to Java, excellent place to relax, I highly
it's beautiful," she said, having no idea of where Java was
but images of brewed coffee danced in her mind. It would be wonderful
to be married to a doctor, she imagined, living in a nice big house
with furniture that never grew old and taking wonderful vacations
to places she never heard of. The only place her and her husband
ever went was Niagara Falls and a family reunion in Dayton, nothing
too exciting in either place.
and the doctor leaned over his desk with folded hands. He was young,
their age maybe, thirty-something, and she admired his slim and
muscular build and nicely cut hair. Salon cut hair, not like her
husband's haircut, a haircut done at a discount place in a strip
mall near their house. "You ready? You want to know?"
off, you're going to have a boy,"
Steven gave off a "Yes!" in an exclamatory whisper. Finally,
there would be an athlete in the family. Amanda had no problem with
a boy, and names paraded in her mind: Justin, Devin, Alexander,
now for the rest of it," and the doctor opened a folder and
leaned back in his chair.
avoided their eyes.
is going to be no taller than 5'5'' when fully grown. He is going
to be extremely near-sighted with a severe case of astigmatism that
could be surgically corrected during his adolescence. His IQ will
be below average and he will struggle with math as that side of
his brain will be the least dominant. He will be pre-disposed to
chest ailments, you know, he'll probably be asthmatic and his anticipated
body type is that of an endomorph."
Amanda nor Steve knew what endomorph meant, but anything morph didn't
pheromone production will be low," and the doctor started to
give a low whistle but remembered his bedside manners, "so
he may be challenged in the romance department when that time comes..."
how accurate are those tests?" Steve interrupted as beads of
sweat started to form on his temples and the back of his neck.
we've been performing neo-natal genetic evaluations here at Royal
Oak General since 2010, which means the first test cases have now
reached adolescence and our follow-up inquiries have indicated that
we are 97% accurate," the doctor responded rather proudly.
Steve sagged into his chair as Amanda let go of his hand.