For so long, I touched my belly constantly. I dreamed of it at night, as if I was in a womb myself—dark and gunky, soft and swimming. I didn’t want it to come out. I thought, if I could just keep it in there. It anchored me.
They put her on my chest the way you see in movies. We stared at each other and I could not make out her face. All I could think about was the tomato soup can from the Andy Warhol painting.
“Just look at her,” said Dave, reaching out with his hairy hand. I raised my arm and blocked him. Don’t touch her, she’s mine! It was fierce, this feeling. Fierce and thrilling. Like how adrenaline kicks in and you can’t control it, your mind so set on only one thing: getting away, fighting back. He smiled at me, convinced he still loved me.
I was certain I’d know what to call her when I saw her. Absolutely certain. “Just like the way you always know you want to be a mother,” Dave’s mother said, nodding her blonde bob and pursing her tight lips. “I haven’t always known,” I said.
Dave and I fought about that for days.
We called her Audrey. I’d always envied her classic beauty, her soft-spoken intelligence. Those doe eyes, that lithe body. It came to me one night as we scrolled through Netflix, Daughter No Name finally asleep in the vibrating chair next to me. I didn’t dare move her, and I didn’t care what they said.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s appeared—that iconic cover image—and I said it out loud. Dave dozed, his head tipped back, mouth hanging open so wide I could have stuck a cucumber in it. I punched him, no longer held back by what my body could do. He startled awake, looked from the TV to me, and shrugged. We both knew it was my choice. We both knew that maybe, we’d be doing our daughter a favor, this small, strange thing I didn’t think was beautiful, but would never say out loud, even to Dave, who I was certain agreed.
Lisa Gordon‘s work has been published in Requited Journal, Hypertext, Storychord, Eleven Eleven, Paper Darts, Brilliant Flash Fiction, BelleSf, Sidereal, and others. Gordon has an MFA from California College of the Arts. She lives in Boston.