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We Make Babies – by Namrata Singh

It’s a busy morning, the kind where you stuff your mouth with french toast, dark

golden, more burnt than cooked, leaving a smoky flavor, or that is what I say to

you- it’s a kimchi grilled cheese sandwich, baby, just enjoy. You smile at me

before gulping the coffee in one long swallow. Before you dash to the door, you

make sure to leave some smokiness on my lips and inside my mouth too. I

blush; my heart spends most waking moments marinating in your thoughts and

sleeping moments caramelized after our soft, tender lovemaking, the kind where

the skin starts to melt and turn gooey like mozzarella enveloped in sweet

brioche. We are in love, I am certain. That day we make a baby in the tiny

galaxy of my womb.

It’s a busy afternoon, and we both are at work. We are both poring over our

screens in our respective cubicles, and then a ping on our friends’ group chat-

somebody has sent a love quote with three red hearts and a couple of Ws after

an A. It reads -‘I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.’ Was

Fitzgerald thinking of us when he wrote this? I wonder. The apricot sun is gentle,

and our managers accept our excuse. Thirty mins later, we are on our way back

home. Noodles, yes, I remember, we eat noodles, chili garlic noodles from

Bercos, licking the green onion stuck on the corner of your mouth. That

afternoon- we make another baby. We are in love, I am certain.

It’s nighttime. Our daughters are in bed, their eyelids shut, the magnolia flowers

all over their blanket transcended to the land of Winne the Ppooh and Ariela and

Belle. We sneak out of their room to tidy up their half-built Lego castle, broken

Hotwheels cars, and the xylophone that starts to ring the moment we dump it in

the toy basket. You dart, I dash, and then the music stops. We giggle and lie

down on the jute carpet in the living room. I smell of fried sweet potato and you

of vanilla patchouli found in tear-free baby wash. It’s magical how our bodies

talk and agree. At the apogee of our bliss, we make a baby again. We are in

love, I am certain.

It is a crisp morning again, and I am wearing a grey sweater. I need to

remember the color of the sun. The girls are off to school, and I hastily eat the

leftover oats soaked in milk flecked with half-eaten raspberries. The heavy bags

under my eyes, more like ill-arranged sandbags to reduce the flood water

damage, make me look old…old enough to be forgotten. I wipe something rolling

down my eyes and type hastily-

Alright, ladies, it’s time. I’m getting a divorce. I’ve been trying to make

this work for a long time, but unfortunately, I have reached a point of no

return: no love, no intimacy, not even friendship. I don’t want him with

me in the house or in the same room. How do I do this? Where do I file?

How do I file? Who do I need to talk to? He doesn’t want to leave the

house and wants our daughters to stay with him… so I will need to fight

him for that. Help me, please. Should I leave the house until the divorce

is final? I have three children and need to start over and rebuild. I have

a good job but need help with investments and planning. Share your

best contact, please. We both need to get out of this…if given a chance,

today, right now.

There was a time we were like gentle showers, a good book, and a warm cup of

coffee. We were like spring, the cherry blossom trees, and an evening walk. We

were like perennials planted on the dirt of life meant to bloom every year- every

year bigger and better.

And then came the lashing rain, the winter storm, the scorching heat. I thought

we were well insulated, but leaks happen, and soon the flood waters entered our

sanctuary and eroded what I thought would stand until eternity. There were

times we longed for each other limbs, but our longing was biological. We moved

from restless boredom to self-imposed solitude – just when and how is a little

murky. In breakups, sometimes, there’s no single enemy- everyone bears some

culpability.

There was a time you knew the contours of my waist, the fold of my breasts,

and the change in the brand of the shampoo. You knew it like people know water

and melon, bread and butter, pancake and syrup. Exactly when did the pancake

start to burn? Wasn’t our world more freshly baked chocolate chip cookies?

When did it turn carbon? Why didn’t we rouse each other from our stupor before

it was too late?

Today you and I are no more in love, I am certain. Some canyons and lightyears

stand between us. We live under the same roof but have lost the wherewithal to

make babies. We uncement bricks of our home, one at a time, and throw them

at each other. Each day the bricks reduce, and the hole gets bigger, making us

both vulnerable to the impending hurricane. Our children cling to us. They cry,

but their tears are not enough. We make war.

Namrata Singh

Namrata is a contributing author and an essayist to some of India's leading platforms- Literoma, Women's Web, Women's Era, Kitaab International, Readomania, Momspresso, ArtoonsInn, Penmancy, and more. She has four books to her credit- No Apologies by Women's Web, Lovers and Losers by Momspresso, Immortality by Chinmaya Publications, and I am what I am again by Chinmaya Publications. Poetry is her first love, and one can often find her lost in the wilderness of words. She resides in Irvine with her family and her poetry books.

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