Saturday, September 21, 2013

Fiction Friday: Methuselah: Renewal

For other posts in the series, visit the Methuselah page on this blog. 

Source: Wikipedia
"All right there, Agnes? Come on. Open your eyes. That's a good girl."

Agnes was annoyed. The last thing she wanted to do was open her eyes (or be spoken to as if she were a toddler or a puppy!). Her head felt like it weighed 50 kilos, the breath in her chest felt heavy. She just wanted to go on sleeping and dreaming forever. She rolled onto her side, away from the persistent voice.

"Unh-uh, Agnes," the voice was less cajoling now, more insistent. "Come now. Open your eyes!"

Agnes reluctantly did as she had been ordered. She took in the sterile room with two banks of hospital beds, each bed occupied by a youthful woman. Ah, yes. The implantation of her ova.

"There you are!" the nurse rewarded her with a little praise. "Would you like some water?"

A short while later, the doctor came by to let her know that all had gone smoothly. Forty unripe ova had been implanted in her ovaries. Her hormone cycles would allow them to ripen naturally. If she had not conceived within six months of actively trying, however, she could come in for an infertility review. She was warned not to leave it longer than six months.

Before she knew it, she was still tired but had returned to her room in the renewal recovery unit. She made herself a cup of tea and put the last of her mother's rugelach onto a pretty china plate. Then she sat in front of the monitor and called her mother.

After the call, Agnes finished her snack, picking up the last crumbs of the sweet pastry with a moistened fingertip. Then she changed into pyjamas and moved to the bed. She picked up her browserpad and checked into her various accounts. Not much happening. A few wishes for a quick recuperation, a couple of friends asking about her retirement plans. Then she saw a spam message in her junk folder. She was about to wink it into the delete folder when something made her open it instead.
"I'm sorry.
Glen. She didn't recognize the sender's name, but the profile page showed that the account had only been active for three days and no one else she knew would sign a message "Punkin."

She was royally pissed off. What nerve! Disappear and send a cowardly apology? Was the pet name supposed to soften the blow? Jackass! "Where the hell are you?" she replied. She started drafting a longer message, but then reconsidered and decided to simply send the question. She kept the longer e-mail as a draft. 

Sleep was the last thing on her mind now, so she stayed online, surfing inanities, commenting on various updates and news items. She searched potential retirement locales, but hit an impasse when she remembered that she wasn't sure whether to look for a solitary destination or a match-making destination. If Glen was only temporarily absent, she would go somewhere alone. Maybe. Right now, she was so angry at his betrayal that she wasn't sure how she felt about the relationship anymore.

But if he was definitely out of the picture, she would have to begin the search for a suitable mate. Either way, time was not on her side.

Her mother had tried to console her that arranged marriages weren't evil. There was something to be said for having a disinterested professional screen potential partners. And it certainly simplified things if she knew that all the men she met had already received their reproductive permits. But it felt oddly mercenary: fertile young woman seeks partner for 20-year commitment in exchange for progeny. She supposed that was the ancient equation, after all, but she couldn't help feeling like she was selling out, cheapening herself.

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