Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Live Band

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The gel is cold and slippery and reminds me of gob. Why is it cold? It should be warm, I think, lying on the table. The ultrasound technician runs a wand, or a very large dildo, which is how I like to think of it, over my belly. It's ironic, really, considering a penis put me here. Anyway, if this chick pushes any harder on my bladder, I'm going to take a leak right here, on this table.

It's not like I haven't been here before. This is my sixth time. I'm 28 weeks along. It's the farthest I've been. Ed used to stand next to me, looking at the screen, holding my hand. Today he's sitting in the corner reading The Medical Journal.
"I can't do this anymore," he'd said when he parked the truck.

"What? Park?"

"No. This," he waved his arm around the cab. "Coming here. It gets harder every time. And I don't, I don't think it's good, for you."

"Oh God. Now you wanna talk about this? It's a little late don't ya think? Listen Ed, Mr. Tough Guy, don't worry about me. I'm cool. Really, I am," I said looking out my side window.

We sat in the truck and listened to "Hooked on a Feeling" on the radio. I counted the lines on the upholstery. Ed, well, I don't know what Ed does to stop himself from crying.

"What's with that, 'Ooga chucka, Ooga chucka?' " I asked.

"I don't know," he said.

"Do you still wanna go for breakfast after?"

"Yah," he said, looking at me.

"Good," I said, and slid one cheek closer across the bench seat. I looked at his leg, "Did you have to wear those pants?"

"You're right. You're cool," he said and opened his door. "Let's go."

That's how I got here, naked on a slab. I might as well be dead. They cover your private parts with a towel. Why, I wonder? I think it's got something to do with the union. They need more dirty towels, more work for the laundry. It's certainly not for Ed's benefit.

Ed, my Ed; the man who masturbated into a petri dish.

"There can be no traces of saliva in the specimen," The woman at the lab had said.

Ed laughed. I punched him in the arm.

The problem wasn't with Ed though. He's got swimmers. It's me. I'm not right, on the inside. Like this is supposed to be news? Something is tilted or crooked, and it's not my brain.

I've got less than a 20 percent chance of a live birth. They call it that; the new politically correct term. Live birth, like Live Band, I thought when I heard it and remembered the night I met Ed. It was at a club downtown, the only place with live music in the city. He asked me to dance. I was wearing tight pants and high boots. He was wearing Lee jeans and Converse runners. He was a good dancer, he was.

They started to play a slow song. The two of us stood there like a couple of retards, moving closer and closer to each other. A couple next to us were making out. We could see their tongues. Some people are just not meant to kiss in public. Anyway, Ed started laughing. Silently at first, I could feel it in his shoulders. Then I started laughing, into his neck, and couldn't stop. We were still laughing when he bought me a glass of wine at the bar. Now, well, we're still a couple of retards trying to move closer. It just takes us longer to get there.

My doctor comes in. She's a nice lady. She's made a few bucks off of us, I can tell you that. I hear Ed pull his chair over. I hold out my hand, he moves closer and takes it. She leans into the screen to get a better look and slides the wand across my tummy. She stops left of my belly button.

"It's a boy," she says. "Do you want to listen?" she asks and hands me the stethoscope.

He's doing a drum solo.


Patricia Parkinson lives in Langley, British Columbia, with her husband and two children, who make her laugh at herself and other things she once took too seriously. She is very happy.


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