narrow for any car and on between crumbling buildings decorated with
graffiti. Doors were chained shut; a window gaped emptily. When the
street widened again, she walked beside him and slipped a hand into
his hip pocket. Simon said, “Sometimes when people feel guilty they
“Guilty for what?”
“I don’t know.”
“What is it, shy guy?”
“You’re acting—” He grimaced and pantomimed grabbing his own ass.
“You don’t like it?”
“I didn’t say I didn’t like it.”
“Aren’t we married?”
“Aren’t we?” His voice got up and away from him. A big valve some-
where behind his ribs flexed erratically.
Anny had stopped. Simon walked ahead. She said his name. He
stopped and turned but did not move any further. She looked toward a
point over his shoulder. “I have an apple in the apple tree.”
“Cabbage in the cabbage patch. Bun in the oven. I was going to tell
you later tonight—”
“I know.” She laughed. She came forward into him and laughed and
hunched up and talked with her face on his chest. “It surprised the living
shit out of me, too.” She hadn’t really believed it, she said. She’d wanted
to go home to talk to a doctor and be sure. She talked then ramblingly
of number of weeks and delivery date, of the schedule of her periods and
size of her breasts and how the doctor had told her to avoid unpasteur-
ized cheese, which would be nearly impossible here.
Simon stared off, hardly following. His first thought was Great,
another Dennis. Yet he felt elated. Why? Why? All he could think was
that a baby was not a Dennis. He began laughing. He told her he loved
her. He cried a little.
“This was meant for us, I think.” She circled her hands on her belly.
“I feel like I was waiting for this without knowing it. I have to be careful. I don’t want to jinx it. They say, after forty, all sorts of elevated risks,
abnormalities. But I have a feeling this is going to be OK, it’s going to be