I want you to make me pregnant.
But we only have eggs, you say.
I take your hand.
We decide to start with fruit. In the supermarket, we examine melons.
I don’t know, you say.
They’re the shape of it, I say, holding up one that is oval and oh-so-yellow. We neither of us hide the melon under our shirts, although we know we are both thinking of it and because we know we non-stop-laugh ourselves out of the supermarket, down the street and all the way home. (I never giggled until I met you. I never understood the force of its joy.)
We look to smaller fruit but it doesn’t satisfy – although you are taken with a blood orange. (I tell you it’s because you have red hair. You nod and say you wish I loved it too but you understand that you can’t force me. We get ice cream.)
In bed, when we are skin and skin and sheets and hair and breasts and fucking, hands stroking and sliding, we decide we will move away from fruit and vegetables, it does not need to be edible.
In fact, you say, maybe it was slightly creepy that we could have eaten it.
You could eat babies, I say, because my head works that way.
True, you say, and I love you more for that one word. I sigh, you sigh, those kinds of sighs that are the two of us, the sigh of skin and skin and sheets and hair and breasts and hands in bed.
In the hardware store, we move from hammers and nails to screws (seems appropriate, you say, and once again we laugh ourselves out of the shop. We find it hard to stay in one place, you and I, for laughing.) In the bathroom store, you are taken with a shower head and I fall in love with a clawfoot tub. But this has nothing to do with procreation, we agree. This is simply fittings.
We find her at last, hidden among the soft furnishings on the fourth floor of a department store. I pass her to you and you hold her and we are not laughing.
Yes, you say.
Yes, I say. I press myself to you with her between us.
We will need to make sure we know how to look after her, you say, solemn as lemons.
It will be a learning process, I say, and take your hand, soft as kiwi fruit. We stand, the three of us, until we hear announcements of closing, of making ways to the exit. We take her, you and I, and pay what’s needed, and out in the street and down the street and to our home, our sofa, where all is new because of her, where we choose her name, and where we will teach her how to giggle, how to shop, how to know by sniffing when the melon she’s looking for is ready to be opened.
Tania Hershman is the author of three short story and flash fiction collections: Some Of Us Glow More Than Others (Unthank Books, 2017), My Mother Was An Upright Piano (Tangent, 2012) and The White Road and Other Stories (Salt, 2008), a poetry collection, Terms and Conditions (Nine Arches Press, 2017), and a poetry chapbook. She is co-author of Writing Short Stories: A Writers’ & Artists’ Companion (Bloomsbury, 2014), curator of ShortStops, celebrating short story activity across the UK & Ireland, and co-founder of On This Day She, and has a PhD in creative writing & particle physics.
Photo credit: Naomi Woddis