She was asleep on her back. A deep sleep.
He was awake. He couldn’t sleep anymore. She always slept better than he did. And he wasn’t just awake, he was watching her enlarged belly, pregnant stomach, rising and falling. He was staring really. He was wondering how he’d be a father. How?
“What are you doing?” she said groggily.
“I’m watching the baby,” he said.
“What the fuck,” she said. “Stop that. It’s weird.” She rolled over.
“No it’s not,” he said spooning her and putting his hand on her belly.
“Don’t worry about it so much,” she said. “Go back to sleep.”
“I’m a worrier,” he said. “I’ll worry for all of us.”
“I’m going to get up and make some coffee,” he whispered in her ear and tickled her.
“Stop it,” she laughed. “Make coffee and I’ll wake up.”
In the kitchen he ground beans and boiled water. He watched it roiling in the pan. Then he poured it into the pitcher.
“I had so many dreams last night,” she said standing in the doorway. She walked to the table in the small kitchen and sat down.
“About the defense?” he asked as he put the lid and the press on the pitcher.
“Well, yeah,” she said. “And those fuckers on the committee.”
“Well, you’re making it harder on yourself,” he said.
“And you’re starting in me about first thing?”
“Well, fuck, honey just do scholarship,” he said pushing the plunger down. “Save the world when you get the degree.”
“Look, you’re the one who walked away,” she said. “You didn’t defend your shit.”
“Yes,” he said putting the pitcher on the table and leaning toward her, “You are better than me and I admire you.” He kissed her on the forehead.
“God, you’re so patronizing,” she said. “How is what I’m doing different. You get it.”
“Yes, we’re both pragmatic,” he said sitting down with two cups. “But this Estabanicio thing is just trying to rewrite history.”
“But that’s the point,” she said. “My whole point is there is lots of language that he and De Vaca were in New Mexico. That’s what the stories hallow.”
“I get it,” he said. “But trying to write our family into those stories. That’s a stretch”
He poured coffee into the cups.
“Listen,” he said. “We disagree about what happens once we discover we have a will here.”
“You’re as much of a nihilist as you say I am,” she said.
“I’m not a nihilist,” he said closing his eyes, “I’m pragmatic. We don’t have to know where all this came from, we’ve got to make the best of it.”
“Right,” she said, “And that’s what I’m doing, making the best of it. If we make the story then we have to write ourselves into it.”
“All I’m saying is play along a little longer,” he said. “I think you’ve opened up a lot of new stuff, important stuff.”
“Tell me again how what I’m saying is different from what got you in trouble,” she urged. “That religion comes from a common experience, whether that experience is internal or external.”
“Yes,” he said. “The similarity of the language, the shared ritual, the agreement over time makes the source irrelevant. If someone just made it up or had some supernatural experience — who cares — we have it, shared tradition that works.”
“So I’m just the one making it up,” she said.
He stared at her as she sipped the coffee.
“Caffeine is bad for the baby,” he said. “And I love you.”
“No it’s not,” she said. “And maybe I love you too.”