“Not exactly, although that’s important to me. Family. Children. Things like that.” Once again she drew her shoulders back and gave Jodie a brush-off smile. “I’ve gone on long enough. I shouldn’t be imposing on you like this. I’m afraid you caught me at a bad time.”
“I get it! You want a kid!”
Dr. J. delved into her pocket and yanked out the tissues. Her bottom lip trembled, and her entire face crumpled as she dropped back into the chair. “Yesterday Craig told me that Pamela is pregnant. It’s not . . . I’m not jealous. To be honest, I don’t care enough about him anymore to be jealous. I didn’t really want to marry him; I don’t want to marry anybody. It’s just that . . .” Her voice faded. “It’s just . . .”
“It’s just that you want a kid of your own.”
She gave a jerky nod and bit her lip. “I’ve wanted a child for so long. And now I’m thirty-four, and my eggs are getting older by the minute, but it doesn’t seem as if it’s going to happen.”
Jodie glanced at the kitchen clock. She wanted to hear the rest of this, but pregame was starting. “Do you mind if I turn on your TV while we finish this?”
Dr. J. looked confused, as if she weren’t exactly sure what a TV was. “No, I suppose not.”
“Cool.” Jodie picked up her mug and headed for the living room. She sat down on the couch, put her mug on the coffee table, and fished the remote out from under some kind of brainy journal. A beer commercial was playing, so she hit the mute button.
“Are you serious about wanting a baby? Even though you’re single.”
Dr. Jane had her glasses on again. She sat in an overstuffed chair with a ruffle around the bottom and the clam-shell painting hanging right behind her head, the one with that fat, wet pearl. She pressed her legs together, her feet side by side, anklebones touching. She had great ankles, Jodie noticed, slender and well shaped.
Once again that back stiffened, as if somebody had strapped a board to it. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. I don’t ever plan to marry—my work is too important to me—but I want a child more than anything. And I think I’d be a good mother. I guess today I realized I have no way to make it happen, and that’s hit me hard.”
“I got a couple of friends who are single moms. It’s not easy. Still, you’ve got a lot better paying job than they do, so it shouldn’t be so tough for you.”
“The economics aren’t a problem. My problem is that I can’t seem to come up with a way to go about it.”
Jodie stared at her. For a smart woman, she sure was dumb. “Are you talking about the guy?”
She nodded stiffly.
“There’ve got to be a lot of them hanging around that college. It’s no big deal. Invite one of them over, put on some music, give him a couple of beers, and nail him.”
“Oh, it couldn’t be anyone I know.”
“So pick up somebody in a bar or something.”
“I could never do that. I’d have to know his health history.” Her voice dropped. “Besides, I wouldn’t know how to pick someone up.”
Jodie couldn’t imagine anything easier, but she guessed she had a lot more going for her than Dr. J. “What about one of those, you know, sperm banks?”
“Absolutely not. Too many sperm donors are medical students.”
“I don’t want anyone who’s intelligent fathering my child.”