When baby boomers write books, we’re all for it. Especially when the boomer’s perspective shapes the story. So it is with Rita Plush’s novel, Feminine Products. From Queens, New York, Rita sends us this excerpt about a life-changing experience a lot of boomers have had.
She finds it on the shelf with the vaginal cleansers and tampons, anti-itch creams and panty liners, promising accuracy and easy use.
At home, hands trembling, she breaks open the carton, grasps the thumb grip, and leaning forward on the toilet holds the wand under her stream. She gazes at the little windows and waits for the stripes to appear. She remains on the toilet staring at the double band. “A baby,” she whispers to the silent tiled room. “I’m going to have a baby.” She peers down and leans over, getting her face as close as possible to her belly and gives the air a little kiss.
Rusty is thirty nine and she’s only been pregnant once before — at sixteen. Back then the thought of going through with it filled her with fear and disgust, but now she wants the life inside her — and the man who put it there. A sort of man hard to describe. Traumatized by the deaths of his family and the accident at the root of it, only some thirty-plus years after the fact, did he sit shiva for them. Closure, some would call it — though not Walter; he’d never use a cliché like that. Wouldn’t even think it. Walter has a way of expressing himself. Stiffly, some might say, as if he’s out of practice, or just learning the language. They are gone from me. I am of no use to them. It is time I give them to their graves. And on the subject of children? The one time they talked about it. Do you like kids? she’d asked over desert at her place a month or so ago. There will be none, he said. That too was Walter, succinct and to the point. And Rusty, unsure of where the relationship was going—she’d only known him three months then — let the matter slide. It slid all right … right into her fallopian tube.
After days of worrying the how, when and where, she decides … in his loft. She’ll bring champagne — Oh? And what are we celebrating? She’ll seem mysterious by not partaking and he’ll want to know why. She’ll say doctor’s orders. She’ll give hints. I have a condition … I’m not supposed to drink … Make him guess.
But before she gets the chance to buy bubbly or the opportunity to tease out the details, into her boutique walks the prime mover, trim and fit as a marathon runner, unannounced as usual. Hair gray, short and side-parted, eyes glistening with energy, he climbs atop a counter-high stool fronting the showcase.
Caught up short, she chatters away about a movie they’ve seen, the Chanel exhibit she’d like to catch at the Met. Has he tracked down that new carburetor for his vintage Ford? While about the baby, not a word.
He studies her face. “What is it? There is something else on your mind today.” He cocks an eyebrow.
And so she comes out with it. “I’m going to have a baby.”