If someone snuck a little TV camera up my fallopian tubes to my ovaries, what would they find?
“Que pasa? What’s that noise? Gertrude, are you awake yet? Something’s going on.”
“Mercy, Maria, go back to sleep. Nothing’s going to happen. Not after all these years.“
“You never know.”
“Please.” Gertrude sighs and sits up. “Let’s go over it again. She’s 52 years old and married for 20 years to this man who had a vasectomy, and then before that, there was the wall. Remember the wall?”
“Oh, sí. The diaphragm. Some very handsome sperm started up the path. Of course we could only see their silhouettes, but up they’d come, young and spirited and muy guapo, coming, coming, almost here, and then, boom. They’d hit the wall, get caught in the jelly, and die like flies in a spider web.”
“Those were sad times.”
“But antes, before that we saw some action.”
“When she was young.”
“Sí, young and slender and with no walls.” She sighs.
“I forget why we didn’t get together with anybody then.”
“Well, I remember that there was something muy weird going on. For months, we wouldn’t have no new eggs.”
“I guess that’s what it was.”
“But there were a few fellows who got through.” Gertrude smiles, remembering. “They were not bad looking, but there was no spark. We held out for sparks, for magic, for romance, you know.”
“Should have grabbed what we could get.”
“I know, I know, but we all thought there’d be rushes and gushes of handsome sperm. It was just a matter of the right time. It never happened. One by one, our sisters sloughed away, gone forever.” Gertrude shakes her head sadly. “We’re the last two, Maria. I can’t bear the thought of losing you.”
“You might go first.”
“I suppose.” She silently watches the blood pumping through a nearby vein.
“I hear she’s a writer.”
“Writer? Words, words, words. All from the brain, nothing from below the waist. What good does that do us?”
“She’s a musician, too.”
“Is that what all that noise is about? Again, it doesn’t get us fertilized. Remember when we were young and fresh?”
“Como no? Now we’re so far past our expiration date we’re wrinkled up like raisins. If a hot sperm came swimming our way, we wouldn’t know what to do with it.”
“Or which one of us should get him. Should the kid get the Spanish genes or the Anglo ones?”
“Caramba. I’m too tired to even think about it now. Besides, I hear the uterus is shutting down.”
“Ah, I heard those rumors, too. I think the big U is getting a little senile, that’s all. One month, everything’s normal, the next, she forgets, the next she goes through two cycles to make up. It’s exhausting. And the hot flashes and the mood swings . . .
“She sends us plenty of food though. Tamales and cookies and ice cream . . .”
“Yes, she does like to eat these days. Once upon a time, I could practically see out into the world she was so thin, but not anymore.”
“No.” Maria rests against a soft red cushion, closing her eyes. “That’s okay. I don’t much care. We’re never getting out of here.”
“You’re wrong, Maria. Look, there’s something coming up the tube. This might be our chance. Do you see it? It’s coming closer and closer. It doesn’t look like a sperm, more like a box with one big eye and a very long tail, but we have to take what we can get at this point. Hey! Hey! Over here. Take us both! Let’s make twins! Come on, Maria, jump!”
I wake to the sound of a nurse asking whether I want tapioca or Jello. Then the doctor stands over me with his clipboard. “Well, Ms. Lick, it’s all over. Everything looked okay until we got to the left ovary, and then the camera malfunctioned, but we’ve seen enough. It’s just menopause. Nothing to worry about.
Copyright Sue Fagalde Lick 2011 (Request reprint permission at firstname.lastname@example.org)