Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Father of My Dead Zygote

As I have said: I don’t forget the names of men who I’ve dated, slept with, loved, hated, or any combination thereof. But sometimes a first name alone—Bill, Mark, Enrique—fails to conjure up the complexity of that individual. Over the years, in conversations with my sisters and friends, I began to refer to particular men by the more fitting nicknames they had earned.

One Saturday night in 1997, I found myself standing on the sidelines of a bar, leaning up against a wall, watching my friend do the YMCA on the dance floor with a bunch of other women. I refuse to dance with other women. It’s against the order of my universe.

I turned my gaze away from the wildly gesturing, letter-forming group on the dance floor directly into the chest of The Father of My Dead Zygote. He was standing very close to me, almost touching me. He wore a tight-fitting, short-sleeved, gray ribbed shirt, under which I could see the swelling muscles of his chest and upper arms. He was tall, maybe six three, dark-skinned, and young.

The Father of My Dead Zygote couldn’t stay long at the bar that night because he had to work the late shift, but he wanted me to know, before he left, that he thought I was beautiful. I informed him that I was at least ten years older than he was.

“You excite me,” he said.

I handed over my number like it was on fire.

He called me the next day and asked if he could take me out for dinner that night. I jettisoned my 48-hour-in-advance rule for dates, gave no thought to the fact that I knew nothing about him other than his physical characteristics, and said yes. I’d been too well-behaved for far too long. In my mind.

I learned several interesting things about The Father of My Dead Zygote that evening. I learned that he was the type of man who turned heads, both men’s and women’s, but he was not the type of man to look back. I learned that underneath his short black hair, behind his straight, perfect nose and almond-shaped eyes, there lie the brain of a beautiful hospital custodian. I wondered how the nurses could work.

I also learned, later that night when my clothes had ripped themselves off of me, when I found myself lip to neck, hand to rib, knee to thigh with this young, young man, that he had the most enormous wiener I had ever seen. The biggest one I’d encountered up to that point had belonged to a boy I’d known in high school who was forever moving from one girlfriend to the next because—common knowledge, we all knew—he couldn’t fit inside anybody, myself included.

Things change.

As I leaned against the pillows, watching The Father of My Dead Zygote unwrap a condom and attempt to put it on, I distinctly remember thinking that there was no way it was going to fit. No way. I watched him grab onto himself and use fingers from both hands to unroll the condom, working it down, stretching it so thin even the little pouch at the end was filled out. Plus, it only reached halfway, like a short sock. I watched, wide-eyed and a little apprehensive.

“Ready?” he said.

I threw myself down.

The only words I have for what happened in the next minute or so are simple: it broke. The condom broke, which I can’t blame it for because I would have done the same thing under that kind of pressure. Happily, The Father of My Dead Zygote had another one, which he struggled into in short order, and all was well.

All was well until about six weeks later when I was sitting in my doctor’s office, having what I thought was the World’s Longest Period. I thought it best to get things checked out. When the doctor asked me if there was any chance I might be pregnant, I laughed, waving my hand in the face of that absurdity. No, I said, no chance of that. I’m always very safe.

But even as I spoke, visions of the condom-breaking incident loomed inside my head, and I knew that in fact I was lying. And what was the benefit of that? A urine test is not your confidante. So I confessed, and five minutes later the test results came in: though I was not pregnant at the time, I certainly had been pregnant, and was now undergoing a miscarriage.

Whew. I tried to mask my relief with concern, which seemed to be the appropriate and expected response there in the doctor’s office, but I was cheering on the inside: I didn’t want to be pregnant, nor did my body. We were selfish by nature, plain and simple.

I never mentioned the incident to The Father of My Dead Zygote. I only saw him that night, and I haven't seen him since.


  1. Honest post Kate! I liked it, no need to answer but I wonder what you woild have done if your body hadn't made that decision for you. TFoMDZ must learn to buy extra large to be prepared!

  2. I love how you explain things. I guess it's all a learning eperience right? It doesn't matter how old we are...

  3. "I handed over my number like it was on fire." I LOVE the way you write. LOVE.

  4. Wow.

    Once again, you sure can pick 'em.
    Sometimes better than others.

    What I don't understand is why the pigeon-killer gets a whole month while daddy long-dong only gets one night.

  5. So this is what FB considers abusive content? Wonder who their censors are? The Pope maybe? Great post...and I'm glad FB censored it, otherwise I might never have found it. Oh, and if you ever see the guy again, tell him he needs to get XL condoms. :D