A nice woman. A self-proclaimed “cat person,” which is good, as upon entering our house she was immediately accosted by Dengue the Cat, about whom Kelly blurted out: “Her name is Dengue. Like the disease;” which is both true (yes, dengue fever, aka “breakbone fever,” is a horrible disease and yes, that’s where we got the name) and not true (I like to think it’s more of a cool name from a euphonic standpoint rather than that we were insensitive enough to name our precious little kitten after a disease that kills thousands of people every year…like, what, we’re going to name our next pet Syphilis?), but regardless it being maybe not the best thing to reveal, unasked, to a woman who practically burst into tears at the thought of circumcising a hypothetical male child.
Early on in the pregnancy the thought occurred to me that it would be so very good-husbandly of me to set aside for nine months my cocktail-hour whisky, my dinner red wine, my happy-hour bar beers, in solidarity with Kelly.
So one night I poured myself an especially big glass of wine (in case it was to be my last) and asked her. She looked at me in surprise, then suspicion, then dismissed the thought.
“No need for both of us to suffer,” she said.
So I don’t, thank god.
Luckily for both of us, her abstention hasn’t fazed her. She misses wine, true, but quitting booze hasn’t been half as difficult as curtailing her caffeine consumption. Still, for awhile there, I was struck by guilt, and not so much for pouring myself scotch as she pours herself milk, but for actually buying the booze. Due to tight finances and a miserly streak, I’m fairly strident about egalitarian consumerism, and I was racking up wine and the occasional bottle of tequila on our paltry bank account and Kelly was getting nothing out of it.
So I drew up a list: Booze vs. Baby.
My good friend Marc and Kelly and I were on a hike, talking about children. Marc didn’t know Kelly is pregnant. He was going off:
“When I think of children I think of screaming infants, of financial burden, of the rest of your life being dedicated solely to them. How is that appealing? I honestly don’t get it. I had to ask Sabrina why people have children, why she wants to have children. I wanted her to explain to me what I’m missing.”
“What’s she say?”
“That she hates me.”
“But then I think of my cat,” he goes on. “And I love my cat. When Sabrina told me she wanted a cat, I was like, alright, sure, a cat, woo-hoo. But now? Now, I love my cat. I love him. Never knew I’d love something like that. Sometimes I think that he’s gotten outside and I go into fucking palpitations.”
Kelly and I looked at each other and smiled.