The thought came out of nowhere, but Keisha was convinced it was more than intuition. She’d read online that lots of women said they knew the absolute moment they had conceived, and now Keisha was joining them. She was sure of it. She was pregnant.
Watching from the bed as Jayson headed for the bathroom, she waited until he was out of view and looked down between her legs as if there might be some clue there, about his little guys’ likely success reaching a waiting egg.
Across the hotel room on the small dinette table, a half-empty bottle of wine mocked her. She had never been one to handle alcohol really well, but tonight she handled it very poorly. It was just that it was one of those nights where plans got abandoned, and you threw every caution to the wind. The baby was only eight-months old and they had been given a rare chance at a couples’ night out when her sister-in-law Chloe offered to take him. Jayson had gotten them a hotel room in the city and they drove down for the afternoon to shop, to see a show and then have dinner.
It was a proper grown-up date, like people went on in the movies, and Keisha was excited about it, and silly for feeling excited because she was Brooklyn-born and bred, and a night in Manhattan shouldn’t have been some big whoop. But it was, and she couldn’t pretend otherwise. Brooklyn-born or not, her life had taken a one-eighty since those days of being a creature of the big city.
She and Jayson lived in a small upstate town where he owned a photography studio and shop, and she worked as a seamstress and costume-maker for local theater productions, and occasionally for individual clients. They had a baby son, Lee—after Jayson’s mother, whose name had been conveniently gender-neutral—who even at less than a year-old was a handful. And their small circle of local friends—all of them young couples themselves, and most of them also with young children—thought “a night out” meant a movie two towns over and dinner at the Chinese restaurant.
So, the night in the city was a big deal. It meant Keisha could get dressed up, wear make-up, high heels. And she could sleep through the night without waking up for a feeding, and most of all, she could enjoy sex with her man without trying to keep her voice down lest their son hear them, and summon them with a cry.
The show they were supposed to see had been a gift from Keisha’s best friend, Kat, who worked on Broadway and got discounts, or free tickets to some of the best shows. This one, Keisha was only mildly interested in seeing, and Jayson, not at all.
They spent the afternoon shopping as planned, getting things mostly for Lee, because Jay didn’t care about clothes or shopping, and Keisha, since becoming a mother couldn’t make herself buy anything unless she also bought something for the baby.
So, she got herself a nice lipstick and some translucent powder from MAC Cosmetics, and then spent a mint on baby clothes that Lee would outgrow in a matter of weeks. Jay carried the bags and looked proud that he could just hand her the credit card without even looking at the cost of anything. His business had been doing well, because he was flexible about doing custom and event shoots, photography classes, or any other trend that hit, so recreational spending didn’t cause the anxiety it used to.
Later, at the hotel, while they dressed to go out, Jayson turned to her as he was tying his tie.
“I don’t even care about seeing this show, do you?”
He said it while cringing, as if it might disappoint her. But Keisha was relieved. She already knew that she liked the idea of them doing dinner and a show more than she was going to like the reality of it.
“So, what should we do, then?” she asked, already mentally undressing him in her mind.
Jay grinned and advanced toward her. “Let’s think of something.”
And then he had shoved her back onto the bed.
Now, in the aftermath, she was counting in her head, trying to figure out whether her intuition could be true. Unfortunately, with her it wasn’t always as simple as a mathematical exercise. Since Lee, she had short, spotty, and sometimes non-existent periods, and hadn’t bothered to get back on any kind of contraceptive. Mostly because … well, she and Jayson had been having a dry-spell.
It was hard to say how it had begun, or who was responsible. But after Lee was born, sex was impossible for a few weeks, and then somehow became irrelevant since they were so exhausted all the time. But now, with a kid old enough to crawl around the living room floor, they still only had sex maybe twice every six weeks, and even then, perfunctorily, and unimaginatively.
The shocking thing wasn’t that a relationship once so incredibly sexual had become just about sex-less. The astonishing thing was that Keisha hadn’t cared. And the downright scary thing was that Jayson didn’t seem to care either.
Tonight though, they had been drinking, taking sips of glasses of wine poured from a bottle that had been included in a welcome basket for their suite. From the moment they got back to the room from their afternoon out until the time they got showered and started to dress for the show, as she drank, there was a gauzy haze over everything and Keisha felt sluggish and unmotivated.
Like the Broadway show, the idea of sex seemed better than the reality of it. Tonight, sex with Jayson had been covered in the same gossamer-thin mood of disconnectedness. She felt pleasure, but it was dim, and distant as though happening to someone else entirely, and she was feeling it secondhand.
And that was how this new conviction that she might have just gotten pregnant again felt as well. Dim. Distant. Secondhand.
The ‘Commitment’ series finale.
On Sale October 21
ABOUT NIA FORRESTER
Nia Forrester lives and writes in Philadelphia, PA where, by day, she is an attorney working on public policy and by night, she crafts woman-centered fiction that examines the complexities of life, love and the human condition.
She welcomes feedback and email from her readers at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweets @NiaForrester.