Previews of Coming Attractions
From "Ben Ik Hem?", Book Two of "Hem Ben Ik":
"Mommy, why did you and Daddy make a baby when you weren't married?"
Goddamn day care, Scully fumes internally. "What do you mean, honey?"
Erin, her soft little hand folded within her mother's grasp, looks up into her mother's face. "Mrs. Franklin said that only married people should have babies."
Scully decides to find some new day care.
"Aunt Audrey and Uncle Walter said they want to make a baby, but they're married," Erin ticks off, as if she's working out the logic of it, like a puzzle...like...
"Grandma said she was married when she had you and Uncle Bill and Uncle Charlie and Aunt Missy, only Grandpa is dead now, but he wasn't then."
Scully finds herself grinning.
"But you and Daddy didn't get married. Was it bad that you had a baby?"
Scully's feet stop abruptly, and the change in pace jerks Erin's arm just slightly. She reaches down and pets the little shoulder. "Let's sit down for a minute," she suggests and after wading through the aggressive pre-Christmas crowd, finally manages to find a small table in the food court.
When Erin has settled down next to her, Scully begins to grasp for any kind of words to explain what is essentially unexplainable to a four year old.
"Erin, honey, sometimes you make a baby and you don't actually know you've done it. Sometimes it takes a while to find out."
"How?" Erin asks, her favorite question. Not "why?" like other children, but "how?" like an investigator searching to explain modus operandi rather than motive.
"It's difficult to explain, honey, but when a Mommy and Daddy love each other very much sometimes they make a baby. It happens because that's the way we were made. God made us that way." No one should have to do this, she thinks. No one should have to explain to a four year old about erections and ovulation and years of undefineable longing. No one should have to make a beautiful little sad-eyed girl understand that Daddy never knew he'd made a baby. That she might never know the infuriating, glorious man who'd taken her mommy to bed one very late night and said with touches and sighs what he couldn't express with words.
She hates this. She finds herself wishing, again, that he was here to take his portion of this burden. He was always clever, she remembers, and maybe he would have a better answer for their daughter. Then she remembers his established taste for pornography and changes her mind with a faint grin.
"As for whether having a baby was right or wrong, well I think I'm going to vote for 'right'." She caresses one peach-soft cheek. "I don't even want to think about how sad I would be if I didn't have you," she tells her daughter. Convincing herself as she utters the words, she finishes the thought. "You make me very happy, bunny."
A knowing expression crosses the little face, and it makes Scully wince just a little. There he is again, incongruous and disconcerting beneath the mop of apricot curls.
"Let's get that ice cream. What flavor do you want to try this time?"