Where Do Babies Come From?
The thought of Eliza being pregnant made me feel kind of weird. First, there was the undeniable evidence that she’s been having sex with people who aren’t me. In Eliza’s case, the possibility of immaculate conception isn’t entirely out of the question, but given her long-term relationship with Bo, her life in The Village, and her fondness for parties, I’m forced to acknowledge a more secular interpretation.
Second, there’s that strange, unsettling shift that happens when outrageously beautiful and sexy women become mothers. It’s as though that entire, gorgeous body was created for one thing — and then suddenly the context morphed. The incredible body is just as stunning, but the objective for each part has abruptly changed. It’s like finding out that an angel’s halo is really for radio reception.
And then there’s the whole lust thing. It’s one thing to desperately want to make love with a beautiful, sexy woman. And it’s still OK if she’s in a major relationship with someone — after all, fantasies are fantasies. But when she’s pregnant, or she’s carrying around a perfect little baby, somehow lust becomes grossly inappropriate. It’s like going for a field goal after the game is over.
I headed down to The Village to hang with Eliza and Bo, see if they’ve gotten over the shock of their Impending Blessed Event, and help myself make the transition from “I want to jump your bones” to “you’re looking positively radiant today.” I found Eliza, predictably, on the beach.
“So, congratulations again on the baby,” I said, hoping that it didn’t come out sounding like “So, do you have a sister?” Eliza looked at me with her warm green eyes, smiled a soft smile, and didn’t say anything.
She was working some clay that she and Bo had dug up about two weeks ago. Eliza has a special rock — tall, fairly flat on top, large and square — that is her favorite clay-working surface. She lifted a large ball of grey clay, slammed it onto the stone, and squished it between her fingers. She picked out a small stick and some flecks of dirt, balled up the clay, and slammed it again.
“Did you know that Bo and I have been faithful to each other for almost three years now?” she said quietly. I was relieved. I hated the notion that she was sleeping with every guy on the island but me. “Absolutely faithful.”
The word faithful echoed through The Village with an awkward tone, like an obscenity in church. It seemed out of place in such a free-love environment. In fact, in this setting, it smacked of selfishness.
“Um, OK,” I said, with my usual wit and presence.
“I’m all for open relationships,” she continued, slamming the clay again and massaging it into a thick pancake. “Ours was open for a while. It seemed so silly to believe that being in love with someone meant that you couldn’t have some fun with other people. I mean, what do love and sex have to do with each other, anyway?”
Ordinarily, that would be an excellent argument. But I was madly in love with Eliza and would be thrilled at the prospect of sex with her. Or maybe I was madly in love with her because I would be thrilled at the prospect of sex with her. Hey — shallower things have happened.
“How is Bo taking the news of the baby?” I asked, already suspecting the answer.
She gestured curtly over her shoulder. “See for yourself.”
She wasn’t even looking toward the Village shacks, but somehow she knew that Bo was there. His towering build, wide girth, and dark-brown skin made him an imposing figure against the bleached clapboards of the decrepit little huts. Next to him was Celia, the Ice Queen. They ducked into a small shack together.
Eliza slammed the clay to the stone. “It’s just that it’s different now, you know? I mean, we’re not married or anything. And he’s free to do what he wants. That’s what I love about him. He doesn’t accept restrictions from anybody. It’s just that it’s different now. With the baby and everything. It’s like we’re together now. We’re linked. And he decides that this is the time to back away.”
Back away? Bo ducking into a shack with Celia? Backing away from Eliza, the most spectacular women ever created? Winning the lottery would be less exciting than an evening spent with her.
But how do you inquire about availability? It’s the curse of the unmarried. You see someone you find attractive, but you need to know if they’re on the market. The standard ruse of asking a close friend wouldn’t work in The Village. If I grabbed someone and whispered, “Is Eliza available? I mean, have she and Bo really broken up?”, the person would stare at me dully and then holler: “Hey Eliza! You available? This guy wants to know if you’re still Bo’s girl or what!” Subtlety is not The Village’s most notable trait.
And of course, there’s the other thing. The Baby Thing. If I make a move, let’s say I become Eliza’s guy. When the baby comes, Bo’s likely to be bonking Celia or welding some kind of metal monster on the beach. I’ll have to be the surrogate dad, holding Eliza’s hand saying “breathe! breathe! breathe!” I’ll probably end up changing diapers and rowing over to the mainland for pureed pears. Is that really what I want? Is Eliza worth it?
I watch her bite her lip as she pounded the clay. Beautiful, deep, creative, sexy.
A baby wouldn’t be that big a deal, would it?
— Donovan Graham, “The Shadowless Writer”
Comment — WomynFire982: a baby isn’t a big deal? you’re willing to become a father to a child who isn’t yours just so you can have sex with a great-looking body? now there’s a formula for a happy family.
Comment — BinoMan211: Go for it, Van! And give us the details — all the details — after.
Comment — BobbyBoy886314: I know you’ll make the right decision. You always do.
Comment — Edith5545: I’m not sure you’re ready for fatherhood, dear. Perhaps you should give it more thought.
Comment — Anaconda6645: A DNA test can confirm that Bo is the father. Then you can go to court to arrange child-support payments. Just because you raise the child doesn’t mean the father’s off the hook.
Comment — SunTanDude: Go with the flow, Van.
Comment — BenchPress999: Step up to the plate, wimp! Figure out what you want and take it. Be a man.
Comment — Gemstone: What exactly do you want, Van? I’d really like to know.
Read previous blog entries in the Island Wars story by clicking here.