Craig Childs - House of Rain
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Field Notebook

Published Stories
Field Notebook

Winter, 2008

How many more children could we have? The curiosity will never end. They are each like opening Pandora's box. Their lives come spilling out of nowhere. What might become of our family and our experience if we have a daughter or another son? If we have two more, and then five, and seven? The possibilities seem miraculous, a genetic cornucopia of options. But Regan is in no mood to have her body stolen yet again. Jaden is finally weaned, the bittersweet days of nursing over. She uses her elbows to remind me her breasts are now hers. Sex stresses her out. She does not want to find herself pregnant again. The voice that cries I WANT TO HAVE YOUR BABY has not yet returned her, the last birth too fresh in her mind.

It is time to act. I go under the buzz and the smoky scent of cauterized tissue to have my vas deferens burned closed. During the procedure I can almost hear the sound of alternate universes popping like bubbles. Those futures, those children, will never happen. This is now my life, my world. After I'm done, I waddle out to the car where Regan opens the door for me. Jasper and Jaden are already strapped into their car seats, and I ask them if they want to see what the doctor cut out of me. Oh yes, two little boys? What could be better than glimpsing a piece of someone's gut? I unfold a rumpled tissue, presenting two bloodied little macaronis. Jaden erupts into laughter because he has no idea what's going on. Jasper's face goes blank, skin pale. I laugh. Regan rolls her eyes at me, tells me to get in or we're going to be late for the airport.

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