My L post for the A-Z Challenge is here.
This week’s installment for Sweet Saturday Samples is one of the excerpts from Little Ragdoll I’d originally had scheduled for some time ago but set aside in favor of other samples. It’s from the conclusion of Chapter 37, “The Year the World Went Up in Flames.” The tumultuous year of 1968 has finally come to a welcome close, and Lenore confides to Allen what she’s recently told her sisters-in-law and their friends, that she’d like to have another baby. The rating is PG-13.
New Year’s Eve is a Tuesday this year. The final day of the year can’t come a moment too soon, Allen and Lenore think as they sit watching the big aluminum ball dropping in Times Square on CBS. Irene is sound asleep on the sofa bed as her parents bid good riddance to 1968 and welcome in 1969. Allen and Lenore envy her a little bit for being too young to remember or be aware of what a tumultuous year she’s just lived through. All she cares about are being fed and clothed, paid attention to, bathed, having her diaper changed, and having interesting things to play with. Only later, when she’s older, will she be able to really start understanding what it meant to live through those days, the same way Allen didn’t understand till he was older what it meant for him to have been born on D-Day. For all she’s aware of, this was a perfectly normal, safe, predictable year, and not the year the world went up in flames.
“I have something I’ve been meaning to talk to you about, Allen,” Lenore says after they’ve relocated to their own bed.
He pulls off his clothes and throws them in the hamper. “Should I be worried?”
“I hope not. It’s just that I’ve been thinking a lot about trying for a second child—that is, if you want a second child this soon.”
He sits down on the bed and pulls her down onto his lap. “Are you serious? You’d want to bring another child into this crazy world? Can’t we wait a little while, until things simmer down a bit?”
“That’s the whole point. Creation is the opposite of killing. Not only that, it’s older than the act of killing. What better way to celebrate life than to create a new one? It’s our way of protesting all the bad things in the world, saying to them we’re better than that, that we’re not afraid to carry on and create life in the face of death.”
He sits and thinks about it. “I know you’re right, but it’s just scary to think about. I was born during a war, and Irene was born during two wars, the Vietnam War and the Six-Day War. When does it end?”
“It will end when everyone decides they love life more than death. World peace is probably a long way off yet, but we can’t stop everything while we wait for the impossible. Besides, two years between siblings is the perfect age difference.”
“Irene would probably love a little sister,” Allen says, already presuming their second child will be yet another girl in his life. “And I never wanted to have an only child. You’re a really good mommy, Lenore. Having two kids would probably make you even better. And it’s best to have all your kids when you’re young instead of putting big gaps between them or waiting till you’re in your late thirties or early forties. My old nanny Sarah ended up having her kids at thirty-eight and forty, but not because she deliberately postponed marriage and motherhood.”
“So what’s your answer? You can think about it for as long as you want to. I’ll just get my diaphragm out of the night stand and keep using it till you’re ready to have another baby.” Lenore makes a face at it as she pulls the drawer open. “I miss birth control pills, but I can’t take them at the same time I’m nursing.”
“Get rid of that damn thing,” Allen says. “You won’t be needing it for awhile. Are you ready to try getting lucky tonight, Mrs. Troy?”
Lenore pushes the drawer shut and crawls over to Allen. “I love you.”
“Enough talk,” he smiles, pulling her on top of him. “We’ve got a new life to work on creating. Here, let me help you out of your clothes.”
During their three couplings that night, Lenore feels she’s got the best husband in the world. Not only is Allen the guy who took her in after she ran away, gave her a whole new family, was her first and only everything, took care of her and nursed her back to health when she was very sick, made her a respectable woman, made her a mother, and caught their firstborn child, without even complaining he didn’t get a firstborn son, but now he’s also her partner in defiance against the culture of death and violence that reigned this past year.