The phone rings and wakes Heather. It’s after ten on a school night. Something terrible must have occurred. Is her mother sick? Hoping she’s mistaken, Heather reaches across the bed and answers anxiously. It’s Angie, calling from Washington, her voice loud and giddy.
“Are you drunk?” Heather says, sits up and leans against the upholstered headboard. The room is dark except for the hall light coming in underneath the bedroom door.
“I just got home from cocktails with a potential sperm donor: Tall, well-read, Northwestern grad. I’m almost ready to sign the contract,” Angie says.
“Are you sure about all of this?” Heather asks and turns on her bedside lamp.
Michael rolls over beside her and pulls the pillow over his head.
“I didn’t wake you, did I?” Angie asks. “It’s three hours ahead here.”
“I’d just closed my eyes,” Heather says, too embarrassed to admit that she could no longer stay awake past nine.
“I’m coming to LA next week for a conference,” Angie says. “My assistant will book a room at the Beverly Hills Hotel but I was hoping I could stay with you.”
“Sure,” Heather says and thinks that her house may be the antidote in Angie’s child quest. Angie could stay in a kid’s room and dodge Dylan’s misfires in their bathroom. Reality therapy.
Heather hangs up and wakes Michael. “Angie wants to stay here next week instead of the Beverly Hills Hotel,” she says.
“Great, lets go back to sleep,” Michael says.
“Has she lost her mind?” Heather says looking at the pile of dirty clothes in the corner of the bedroom. “Ten minutes after Maria leaves, this house looks like a bomb went off. Toys all over, forts in the living room. We will be the perfect birth control.”
“Is she still able to have kids?” Michael says.
“Jesus, she’s my age,” Heather says and throws off the covers. “Trust me, when I’m menopausal you’ll know it.” She stands and paces the room.
“Let’s just go to sleep,” Michael says.
“To start from the very beginning at this age. I wish we’d started when I was 14. Maybe then I’d have enough energy to stay awake to watch Conan at night,” Heather says as she picks up a naked Barbie and sets it on top of the dresser.
“Well, I’m sure Angie can handle it and be a great mother,” Michael says. “She’s smart and successful.”
“She works eighty hour weeks and she’ll be doing it all alone,” Heather says, going into the bathroom. She turns on the light at stares at herself in the mirror. She’s starting to look older. Maybe she should get Botox. There are bags underneath her blue eyes.
“Angie can afford a nanny, and there’s always day care,” Michael says from the bedroom.
Heather uses the toilet, washes her hands and walks back in the room. “Do you think that you could just pay someone to take my place?”
“Of course not,” Michael says. “I don’t know what I’m saying. I’m exhausted.”
Heather paces the room, “Driving children everywhere all day long, worrying about their every want and need. Dodging the head of the PTA like a CIA agent,” she says.
“Come back to bed,” Michael says, patting the mattress they’ve slept on for the past nine years. Heather turns off the lamp and crawls in bed besides him. His warmth makes her drowsy.
“I love you,” Michael says and puts his arm around her.
“I love you too,” she says. “I just worry about her doing this on her own. It’s harder than you know.”
Don’t miss chapters one through fourteen!
Note: The ModernMom Chronicles is a fictional novel. The story is not a personal blog, nor is it based on existing people or events.