I was at breakfast with my brother, Steven, and his daughter, Sarah, when I asked Steven if he remembered the egg poaching pot our mother had when we were growing up.
“You mean for soft-boiled eggs?” he asked.
“No, no. That’s different. Poached eggs. They’re like, how do I explain it. They’re round,” I said.
“Are they like hard boiled eggs?”
“No. The yolks are soft, like sunny side up eggs,” I said. “Anyway, the pan is like a saucepan, but it has this little disc that holds these little cups.”
He was showing no recognition. I continued.
“The cups go in the little holes, and you drop the eggs into those little cups,” I said. I paused. “I have no idea why I just told you all that.” I felt a little dizzy.
“You were telling us about poached eggs,” Sarah said.
“Yeah, but why?” I was stumped. “Really. I have no idea why.”
“I don’t know. But when you said poached, all I could think about was a guy with a gun,” Steven said. “Maybe you poached someone’s eggs.”
“I did,” I said.
As we left the restaurant, I felt light-headed. We went into one of the shops across the street. It was a combination soap store and bookstore. I looked through the provencal soaps, smelling so many I could no longer detect a scent. Steven and Sarah went into the book side of the store. By the time I walked over there, I was so tired, I had to sit down. The heat outside was oppressive. I felt like I had to rest.
We left that store and went into a candy store. And then a souvineer shop. By the time we got to the postcard store, I had to sit down again.
“I’m so tired,” I said.
“Drink some water,” Steven said. “You’re probably dehydrated.”
We had ice cream and went into an antique store and then headed home. By the time we got there, I was ready to crash on the couch. I lay there while Steven packed up his car to leave.
I got up to send him off and then went back to the couch. About half an hour later, the nurse from Cornell called with my blood test results.
“How are you feeling?”
“Pretty tired. But you tell me. How am I feeling?” I asked.
“Well, everything looks good. Your hCG level is 5,278,” she said. “Last time, it was only 377.”
“Yeah. It’s pretty high. I’m not surprised you’re tired,” she said.
“Wow. Is that too high?”
“No, it’s fine. It looks good,” she said. “It’s possible you’re carrying twins.”
“Well, sometimes when it’s that high,” she said. “Don’t hold me to it. We won’t know until the ultrasound.”
“But you think its twins?”
“If I was forced to make a guess,” she said.
“I’m forcing you to make a guess,” I said.
“Well, if forced, I’d say it could be twins,” she said.
I hung up the phone and drifted off to sleep. I thought about a young girl in the waiting room at Quest who kept stomping her feet and yelling at her mother, “I hate you, Mommy. I hate you.” I imagined having not one daughter but two. I hoped at least one of them wouldn’t hate me.