She is late. Eight days.
Lying on her stomach beneath me, I position my fingertips on both sides of her neck and apply warm, gentle pressure in steady circles, hoping to relieve tension. My hands slide to her shoulders as I press with the heel of each palm, bringing my wrists almost together along the elevation of her spine. Leaning forward, I press down. A slight mound of skin rises, rolling toward her waist, ahead of the smooth, gradual motion. Reaching her hips, my hands glide from her body and I begin again.
Switching to thumbs, I rub the back of her neck, behind her clavicle, under the rim of her shoulder blade and the base of her spine before resuming the long, weighted caress of my palms against her central ridge, fingers floating along the edges of her protective ribcage, the extent of her being. Repetition lulls her to sleep and her breathing changes.
Nothing is exact, nothing is certain; she insists she’s been eight days late before. Neither of us is ready but, because she wants a baby, there’s an aura of predestination and determination.
My hands drift relentlessly across her contoured landscape. Pushing down, wishing for magic, I maintain a rhythm for her body to follow.
She radiated energy when I first caressed her through layers of clothing, straps and hooks. Then came toplessness, followed by an abundance of pale white skin, toes to forehead. Intimate massage became a prelude to love, a barrage of sparks, a release of longing. We spent two months exploring surfaces. I learned, I grew, I had everything I wanted but now she sleeps while I’m still dressed.
Yesterday, one week late, reluctance flooded in. On a microscopic level, our blood cells didn’t correspond, DNA didn’t commingle. Against a cosmic backdrop, I watch galaxies collide as stars slip out of alignment.
And so, I continue massaging. With futile gestures, my insufficient hands negotiate her indomitable body. Wishing for a physical impossibility, I concentrate on moving cells beneath her skin, willing the lining of her uterus to release and her blood to flow.
We awake on the ninth day.
Dave Gregory used to live and work at sea but now writes in a bay-windowed, book-lined room. He is an Associate Editor with Exposition Review and a Fiction Reader for journals on both sides of the Atlantic. His publication credits include The Nashwaak Review, The Lindenwood Review and Sky Island Journal. Dave’s story "Eighteen Dollar Shoes" was nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Bull & Cross in 2018.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.