It was so hot that even going to the pool seemed out of the question. Our thermostat was reading 74 even though we had it set to 68 which made us nervous about antifreeze levels, etc.

We decided to go to my friend’s house. The best man in my wedding. He was having people over, young couples our age, twenty somethings, all of whom had any number of kids ranging from two months to two years. We were the only ones without kids.

We were the first to get there. My friend’s oldest girl who is almost two ran to greet us at the door. The family was watching a nature show about penguins. The lights in the room were dim. They had just woken up from a collective nap. The penguins shuffled along the ice with their babies tucked under layers of feathers and fat and fed them regurgitated fish with their long beaks and squawked little clouds of condensation into the frozen air, calling out, unaware the human world was watching them.

Other people began to arrive and we met them. I warned that my hand was clammy when I shook their hands and we gave each other that unsure smile that happens when meeting a new person. We sat down at the kitchen table and talked as the kids ran around and played with each other. We asked questions about having kids, how much sleep do you get? Things like that.

My wife sat by me with her hand on her own pregnant belly. I wondered about what our baby will be like. What toys will they play with? Will they cry? Laugh? Shriek? Will they wrinkle its nose a certain way? Will their head smell good?


© Daniel Douglas


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