Friday, September 6, 2013

Fiction Friday: Methuselah: Moving Forward

Weeks later, Glen was still trying to track down his request. At first, assuming it had not gone through, he tried to submit a brand new one, but received an error message indicating that he had already submitted the maximum number of requests for this Sesqui. No one in the Department of Reproduction was able to track it down, however. Because he was of indeterminate status, his request for an appointment with his Genetic Counsellor was considered low priority. So he waited.

"Talk about a biological time bomb," Agnes tried to joke. While Glen recognized this attempt to lighten the situation, he was hardly feeling the mood. So he didn't even try.

"You know you have to do it, right?" Glen asked.

They went back and forth. She wanted him more than she wanted a baby. He didn't want to deprive her of the amazing gift of motherhood. She would wait for him; his request was sure to be granted. (The Baby Lottery was supposed to favour couples who were in long-standing relationships. Theirs, at fifty-two years, was certainly longstanding!)

The truth was that she suddenly wanted a baby like she had never wanted anything else in her life, suddenly. She was mystified at where this hunger came from. Was it a result of the relationship with Glen? Was it because she'd postponed her renewal? All those years, she'd watched her girlfriends cry when their Reproduction Requests were declined, and she'd scoffed at them. Get a life, she'd thought.

She'd never wanted to be a brood mare - and still didn't know how she felt about having her body taken over by an alien. If her application had been denied, she thought, she would have been fine with that. Sad, but not heartbroken. But to have this opportunity dangled before her - a baby!

In the end, it drove them apart. Each trying to be noble, each trying to do The Right Thing. (And how could one possibly know what was the right thing in a situation like this?)

They agreed that she should decide while she recuperated from the renewal.

As luck would have it, the renewal clinic had a cancellation that aligned with her schedule. So six days (six days!) after she submitted her Reproduction Request and her renewal request, Glen dropped her off at the hospital and kissed her goodbye.

Renewal involved sedation and injection of a biochemical directly into the pituitary gland. A period of immunotherapy followed, during which Agnes -- and the other patients at the hospital -- were all but bedridden. Because they were immunosuppressed, visitors were not allowed, so she communicated with Glen by video. She looked like death warmed over, and she knew it. Her hair fell out, her face was swollen. Her gums and nose bled.

"You wouldn't believe how smooth my legs are," she joked to Glen. "Smooth as a baby's bottom!" She wished she'd found a better simile.

But Glen smiled. "Wish I were there to massage them!"

"So do I! Oh, my god, they ache!"

And so their conversation continued, talking about her recuperation, the weather, world events. Anything but having a baby. It had become a no-go zone.

Her mother, Mara, called.

"Sweetie! How are you?" Mara asked as her visage filled Agnes' monitor.

"Oh, you know, Mom. Kind of wishing I didn't have to go through this again."

"I hear you." She chuckled. "But you look beautiful, even without your enviable blond mane. Have they improved the hospital food?"

"No! And you'd think that, after all these years, they could have figured out how to do that!" Agnes complained. "Is it really that difficult to serve fresh fruits and vegetables?"

"Well, if you want gastronomy, you'll have to look elsewhere. When do you move down to the recovery floor?"

"Don't know. Probably next week." Agnes wanted her mother to visit, but contrarily didn't want to have to ask her. She wanted her mother to offer. Ever a needy child, where her mother is concerned.

"Shall I visit?"

Agnes smiled. "I would love that. Can you bring some of your rugelach? A little homecooking would make up for the miserable fare here."

"I will certainly bring you some," Mara answered.

"And I think you should get your camera fixed," Agnes commented. "You're still looking all blurry and shadowy."

"Pah! Why should I pay those tech minions more money than they already get? I swear: in my next Sesqui I'm going to study information technology so I will be able to do all these things myself!"

"You show them, Mom."

They talked a little more about family and friends, work and leisure.

"Let me know when you're ready for visitors then, honey," Mara signed off. "I love you to the moon!"

"Love you to the stars, Mom," Agnes answered as the screen grew dim. "Mommy," she added after the call was completely disconnected.


  1. Getting well into both stories. You and Bronwyn better not give up!

    1. I will confess, I'm kind of losing excitement.

  2. interesting that kids/no kids has been something that has broken up couples since...people have been having/not having kids. I had a nightmare once that I was in a different time and got divorced for being barren. Horrible.


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