Salmonella

I found her sitting cross-legged on top of the kitchen counter, eating raw cookie dough like it was going out of style.

“And I thought that I was the insomniac in this relationship.”

She laughed like she always did when I said things that weren’t that funny, loudly and hoarsely with a hint of a snort. The first time that I heard it I thought that it was the most honest laugh that I had ever heard.

“You used to be,” she said, holding the unwrapped half of the tube out to me like a peace offering. I pinched off a bigger portion than was called for at three in the morning and positioned myself as close to her as I possibly could.

“So why wasn’t I invited to this one-woman shindig?” I asked around a mouthful of what my mother always claimed was a case of salmonella poisoning waiting to happen. Coincidentally, I heard the most honest laugh that I had ever heard for the first time and ate raw cookie dough for the first time on the very same day. I was hooked on both within the minute.

“Well, for one, you’re not a woman,” she pointed out.

“Noted.”

“And also, because I didn’t want you to think that the reason that I’m about to get really fat is because I’ve taken up sleep eating.”

My chewing slowed to a crawl and I swallowed at the same second that I realized what she was trying to tell me.

“You’re not–?”

“Ready to be a mom? I guess we’ll see.”

She laughed again as I immediately crouched down in front of her, lifting her shirt up from around her stomach and pressing my mouth against it.

“Whoever you are, whatever you’re going to be. Daddy loves you. And don’t you ever forget it.”

And then I pressed my ear against her bellybutton to listen for a heart that hadn’t even started beating yet, for all that I knew.

“Come here, you.”

She pulled my face back up to hers to give me a kiss that tasted like cookie dough, and I reflected that if I did somehow end up with salmonella poisoning, I wouldn’t care. It would be worth it.

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