“So thou, thyself outgoing in thy noon: Unlook’d, on diest unless thou get a son.”
-Shakespeare Sonnet 7
Story based in Shakespeare’s Sonnet 7
He knew stars fell from the sky. He knew the sun did not. It was a constant – disappearing and then predictively reappearing. This morning he was awoken with kisses from his girlfriend as the sun poured into the bedroom. His lips, his neck, his chest…he kept his mouth closed. He was sure his breath was sour from the martinis last night and the Brazilian steakhouse. The Chimichurri was rank with garlic.
My girlfriend, hair flowing, face rubbed red from his body hair, and slightly racoon eyed from bleeding mascara sat up in bed and, without warning, looked very serious.
“You’re not getting any younger,” she said.
“I’m still in my prime.” He pulled the sheet over himself. There was an autumn draft from the window and Marlene’s assessment of his age made him, surprisingly, self-conscious.
“So what?” I asked petulantly.
“You should have a son.”
I laughed. “I’m not having children.”
Marlene flopped on the bed but near the edge. “Why can’t you love me?” she asked.
I reached for her hand but she swatted me away. Why did this happen so much? Women desiring children.
I was it. I was adopted and my adoptive parents died. They had no extended family. I think there was a cousin somewhere. Maybe Arkansas? I wasn’t leaving Manhattan for Arkansas. When I died I would be extinguished from this Earth. No part of me will march forward. No memories would be shared. I was a falling star and not a blaze engulfed sun.
“I’m very fond of you, Marlene.” I was careful not to say ‘I love you’. She picked up on that. She got out of bed and dressed.
“You’ll die alone, you know?” She stood in the doorway.
“We all die alone.”
“Imagine having a son…” Marlene didn’t finish the sentence but collected her things and left.
I laid back in bed. Imagine having a son. Oh, for fuck sake. Children aren’t a requirement and I will waste all my years alone and without a son. I closed my eyes and dreamed of a funeral with no one. A hole in the ground, a requisite priest, and maybe the cousin from Arkansas. I could hear the piling of dirt and then I got an image of a son. A young with my visage.
“Don’t worry, Papa. I will always remember you.”
I woke up sweating and heart beating. I went to the dating website, altered my profile, and listed ‘children a possibility’.