Ana met up with Carrie after the conference. This was one of those seminars that people in Ana’s profession go to out of obligation. In her case, Ana felt obligated to attend because Carrie, who is a dear friend, already paid for her registration.
Once upon a time, Ana and Carrie worked in the trenches together. They were excellent soldiers — obedient with just the right amount of cynicism; they could look at blood and gore with clinical detachment; they could sublimate their fear, disgust and depression, until a more appropriate time (however long that takes). They could have been made into generals. Ana actually rose to captain but she found that she hated soldiering and was in it only for the money. For these girls (or women), Carrie and Ana, their passive-aggressiveness is an effective antibiotic to future success.
Now Ana is thinking: there is something about being in a war-zone (which is basically what their previous job was all about) that draw people closer. If I had been more determined, and gave in to my Inner Goddess and quit while I was still relatively sane, Carrie would not have been my friend. I would not be sitting here now, drinking mojito and commiserating about our husband’s infrequent erections.
Carrie: I think something happened after I gave birth. That fourth degree laceration really took something out of my sex life. Maybe it’s the lubrication or something.
Ana: I miss it when we were in our twenties and would have sex every other day. Half the time I was asleep, which is a bummer now that I look back on it. Men’s interest really go down with age.
Carrie: I love our daughter and I think I don’t mind not having sex with Ian at all.
Ana: Really!? You mean that?
Carrie: Ana, of course I’m lying! But I can’t help thinking that he doesn’t really love me. That he just married me because I got pregnant?
Ana: Oh please! Are we going back to this storyline? Harlequin, Loveswept, Silhouette, even Mills and Boon novels are teeming with the accidental-pregnancy-plot-that-leads-to-marriage — haven’t you learned anything by now?
(Carrie’s face is blank so Ana would have to spell it out for her)
Ana: Ian loves you, get that through your thick head. It’s not as if you pointed a gun at him and made him marry you.
Carrie: For men, isn’t an accidental gestation just like pointing a gun to their heads?
Ana: (Silent. How would she know? She had never been pregnant.) Tell me again how your daughter was an accident?
Carrie: I forgot to take my pill.
Ana: Wow, that’s stupid.
Carrie: Thank you, Ana. That is very insightful.
Ana: Well if you will do it all over again, I’m sure that that you will not prefer not having had your daughter. I mean, Arielle is cute and smart and she will probably be your last chance at genetic mortality because, and I quote, women’s chance at conception drastically go down at 39 even with IVF. Hey look, you should have another kid, otherwise, you will smother this one.
Carrie: I am on DMPA.
Ana: Wow, is that so. Well you’re 38, you should probably give yourself a deadline. Don’t be like me. I am still not passionate about progenies and I’m only 3 years younger than you.
Carrie: Having a child is difficult. A real drain on the finances, and on your energy. You want to give her the best. And it’s depressing when you realize you can’t.
Ana: I am so glad you said that. I am tired of these women, and even men, who keep yammering on like having a kid is the Holy Grail.
Carrie: Of course they will say that Ana. It’s a necessary fiction.
Review of the week: Fifty Shades of Grey
“we should not begrudge E. L. James her triumph, for she has, in her lumbering fashion, tapped into a truth that often eludes more elegant writers—that eternal disappointment, deep in the human heart, at the failure of our loved ones to acquire their own helipad.”