They had tried everything, but this guy.
They said he was kind of funny. They said he worked miracles. They said, “Hey, you want to get pregos, you go see this guy!”
They were right about one thing. He fit the funny part. He was dressed more like a mad-scientist than a doctor. He wore an old fashioned white smock which came down to his ankles, not quite covering his faded red flip-flops. He looked like he might usually wear one of those round magnifying lens-thingies on his forehead but he had none this day. I remember how he was all smiles as he walked us into his office, which looked more squirrel’s nest than doctor’s office.
Strange gizmos everywhere. A plastic skeleton with a cigar in its mouth hung in one corner. Dozens of fallopian tube models were scattered about on three otherwise empty bookshelves. Two white chairs, the rental kind that fold up, sat before a desk that had nothing on it but an old blotter covered with doodles and a TV Guide with Mary Tyler Moore on the cover.
I wanted to turn around and walk out, but I didn’t, of course. We had to hear the man out. We needed to believe in the man. Dr. Zee, as he was known, hurriedly closed the office door, which wasn’t really necessary as there was not another soul in the waiting room. As far as Monica and I could tell, we three were the only people in the office. We stood waiting for him to ask us to sit down. He didn’t. Instead he faced us silently and gave us each a long inspection, a silent once-over, up and down. Then he came forward and put his hands on my shoulders with his face six inches from my face. Very seriously he asks me in stage whisper, “Okay. We are here to make babies, yes?” I nodded. “First thing, I must ask before we go through rigmarole, you know what you’re doing in the bedroom, yes?”
My first reaction was to smile at his question, but the look on his face told me he was deadly serious, so I only nodded.
“You do?” he continued. His face came even closer to my face. I backed away a step. “Yes, I think I know what I’m doing in that regard.”
I told him I was thirty-one years old and was actually pretty damn sure of it. Now I did smile, but it was more a nervous grin. I looked over to Marcia, hoping for confirmation. She studied me blankly.
Jesus, I thought, what if I have been missing something this whole time? What if there’s some trick to the method of impregnation that nobody told me about? Maybe a special little wiggle of some sort? A last second something or other that will bring the boys to the homeland.
My face might have shown some lack of confidence at that point. Dr. Zee stepped back and held up his hands. He made a little circle with the fingers on his left hand and used his right index finger to go back and forth through the circle.
I thought for a moment this guy was making fun of me, but he was still bathing me with that look of honest sincerity that I nodded my head and said, “Yeah, doc, I got that covered, I’m proud to report.”
Then we both looked to Marcia. I don’t know if she was just nervous or embarrassed, or what, but all she did was stare back at us. Now I was starting to get a bit irritated with my wife. Also a lot more worried. A little help at that moment would have been greatly appreciated.
“Yes?” asked Dr. Zee. He nodded his head emphatically. I held my breath waiting for Marcia to say something. She stood there for a moment with the same nothing showing on her face. I think now she was only nervous. Maybe scared would be a better word. We had been trying for a baby for so long. We had seen so many doctors and taken so many different sorts of medical advice and expensive medicines, this new doctor was a sort of last resort.
Finally, “Yes, Dr. Zee,” she said. “My husband knows what he’s doing.”
We all smiled together. Most of all, me. I only then realized I hadn’t been breathing.
“In that case, we can all relax,” Dr. Zee said. “Join hands.”
We stood together in a circle holding hands and we bowed our heads as Dr. Zee began to speak. I, for one, closed my eyes.
“They only have one chance this round, and hopefully it will succeed - just one chance to be blessed with a baby. They want this baby, Goddess Mother. We ask you to grant them this.”
And with that he sent us home. On the way out the door, he said, “What, you were expecting a magic potion?”
I look now down the dinner table and remember that strange day so long ago. I look at my twin sons, both off to collage next year, and I still can’t believe what I’m seeing. I look at Marcia at the far end of the table, a warm glow about her as she smiles back at me. She knows what I am thinking. And she’s right. We are truly blessed.