The coffeehouse was busy this Tuesday morning. Mothers with strollers, mothers with babies, mothers who checked their phones incessantly to make sure everything was all right- the kids hadn’t gotten sick at school or worse: ended up in the principal’s office. Alice lowered her voice despite the café’s noise.
“We’re expecting”. The other three mothers began to coo and squeal in excitement. Children were a status symbol. Alice already had four.
“I thought you said you were done being pregnant,” one lady pointed out. She only had one child and was lucky if anyone listened to her.
“That’s the best part. I’m not pregnant. Richard is”. All the women regarded her admiringly. None of them could coax their husband into carrying their child. But then Alice was different. She excelled. Her children excelled. Swim team, school plays, honor roll. This new baby was destined for more of the same.
When Alice got home, dripping with the envy of her friends, she hung up her coat and called out gayly “I’m home” Richard usually worked from home, but he wasn’t in his office.
“Richard?” There was a curious sound coming from the music room (all four children played piano). She walked in to find her husband of 15 years crying.
“Richard, what’s wrong?” Was it…one of the children?
“I’m not pregnant,” he wept in his baritone voice, “The doctor says it’s impossible for a man to be pregnant”
“Well, that’s absurd. Sally Hendrick’s husband had a baby last week. Honestly, Richard, I’ve carried four children. You could contribute at least a little”
“But it’s not possible”
“Anything is possible” lectured Alice, a familiar phrase to her children: “But Mom I can’t do swim and piano tonight. I have too much homework” they’d say. But they always rose to the occasion. Alice expected more from her husband. She got up leaving him to his wallowing in his failure. It was time to pick the kids up from school.
Catherine Moscatt is the author of two books, A Cocktail of My Own and the Girl That Flies. She’s been published in numerous magazines such as Muse- An International Journal of Poetry, The Writing Disorder, and Pour Vida. She likes bad horror movies and loud metal music.