Julia Tranchina

You can buy sperm in a six-pack. So do it. Once you’re ready they’ll pack it up in a tank full of liquid nitrogen housed in a tall cardboard box with a dull silver handle. Sperm to go, like Starbuck’s coffee. You can leave it in the trunk of your car when you return to work.

If the test is positive they’ll give you a shot so your egg will release. Timing is everything. If you work get someone to cover for you and get a ride. Call your girlfriend, partner, spouse, wife, whatever, and tell her to meet you in the parking lot so you can go together.

Make sure you let her drive. She will hit traffic. This will make her tense. Close your eyes and relax. She’s a bad a driver and if you engage it only makes it worse. If she tailgates look out the window at the Scientology protestors wearing the scary Guy Fawkes masks on the corner. Convince yourself this means nothing. Remind yourself that no matter how well you plan this it will always be clinical and awful.

Resist the urge to complain when the receptionist finally appears after 15 minutes at the infertility clinic. Watch as she places your tank next to the four identical tanks lined up on the counter solemnly like a waiting firing squad. Resist the urge to complain about the impersonal attitude shown toward your sperm.

Returning from the restroom recognize the faint onset of panic in the eyes of the girl that you love and slow your pace. “This weird woman in a tie-dye shirt and bad skin wished us luck,” she tells you. Remember said woman from yesterday crying and repeating, “What should I do?” into her cell phone from where the girl that you love is sitting now.

The insemination room in the infertility clinic is cramped and frigid. Give your carefully folded clothes to the girl that you love and wrap a baby blue paper blanket around your naked waist down. Smile when the girl that you love asks you if you are okay and kisses the soft part of your cheek where your mouth turns up. Remove your glasses and regulate your breathing. Stare at the large blurry image of a front view of the female reproductive organs. Notice its resemblance to a front view of the wooden donkey head your parents bought in Mexico that scared you as a child.

When the receptionist enters with a vial and asks if specimen 12910 is correct confirm for her that specimen 12910 is correct. Be glad when she’s gone. Begin to relax as the girl that you love cups specimen 12910 in her small hands to keep it warm. Note how the girl that you love is happy with her new sense of purpose. Watch her lift her shirt and place the vial in her bra. Suddenly remember why she is the girl that you love. Wonder what you will tell her when she recognizes you and not herself in the face of a tiny baby. Begin to tell the girl that you love everything she is that specimen 12910 is not but run out of time.

Wince as the nurse practitioner opens the speculum. Feel the catheter pass through your cervix and into your uterus. Imagine specimen 12910’s sperm in a state of confusion as they are released inside your uterus. Wonder what specimen 12910 meant when he said in his short profile, “I steadily and naturally flow toward favorable conditions.”

When the nurse practitioner tells you to lie on your left side, facing the wall, for 20 minutes, be glad when she’s gone. Ask the girl that you love to set the timer on her fancy phone for 20 minutes. Make room for her under the paper blanket. When the girl that you love spoons you note that her body seems smaller. Note that the insemination room in the infertility clinic is cramped and frigid but will be part of the history of your child. Note that everything begins with this.

 
 
 


Julia Tranchina lives in San Jose, California. Her fiction has also appeared in Barrelhouse, CellStories and Squid Quarterly.