When she didn’t know what else to do, she’d go for a walk. She would leave the triplets at home on the living room floor, blocked in by the couch on one side, the coffee table on the other, a line of pillows and books on either end. Leaving them there, surrounded by toys, seemed kinder than putting them in their cribs, behind bars, or forcing them out into the world. At eight months, they were coordinated enough to pull up on the coffee table but could not yet climb over, and though they could wave bye-bye, she preferred not to. She would slip away while they were absorbed in gripping and releasing plastic rings, babbling to each other in their private language. She never stayed out longer than two hours. When she returned, she’d find them asleep, or playing in slightly altered positions, rarely crying.
Amanda Quinn was cooling her jealousy on the rooftop of Time—Manila’s (not very) secret hotspot—when she got the call. She scoped out the gathering storm while avoiding a despedida for a friend: pregnancy whisking another smart, funny, foreign woman back to her home country.
Black clouds marched from the east, blowing the venue’s red paper lanterns like baubles. The air beaded against her skin in acid sweat. Her tank pinched her ribs. Danny had a thing for structure in women’s fashion.
She checked her watch. He said he’d be here any minute, but she knew he wouldn’t be. Of course, if she’d had a child from her earlier pregnancies, she couldn’t be up here, feigning intimacy with people she barely knew.
Terry grunted, rummaging in her backpack for her Greek-English dictionary. Instead, she found her latest journal. Flipped it open, jotted down: Marina, Goddess of the Sea. A bit too old and fat to be a siren. What about me? Twenty-ninth birthday yesterday, no man in sight, to Mom’s despair.
The baby moves again, in quick, tiny motions. They are giving her two more weeks to grow, then forcing her out. She will be fine, they say, you will be fine. Everything will be fine. I want to believe them.