Supportive Husband

Liam Sherwin-Murray in The Paris Review:

There were less intimate places available, so it was odd when a woman took the seat directly facing mine across the subway aisle. I looked up from my book and right back down: a couple of months before, we’d gone home together. She had a Southern accent and a boy’s name she swore was given. Bobby. Probably spelled Bobbie or Bobbi but she didn’t say “Bobbi with an i,” which I thought cool of her. Good sex, great chemistry, and I promised but then failed to text; encountering her on the subway might have been awkward even if I weren’t reading What Were You Expecting?: A New Manual for New Parents by Drs. Laurie and Lawrence Shriver. No point hiding the cover now. Bobbi had seen it before she sat down—that much was clear when we made eye contact. She chose the seat to shame me.

The train stopped and neither of us got off. I tried to continue reading. I’d been pretending to read since noticing Bobbi, but now I made myself concentrate. Did you know that fetuses float in their own pee? That’s what my book said: After twenty weeks, the amniotic fluid is mostly urine. It had the feel of a fact everyone knew, like the Earl of Sandwich or you eat bugs in your sleep, but I hadn’t known unless I’d forgotten.


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