Part 3: God's will
It's a strange dance, artificial insemination.
In this case, a woman's husband reaches out to another man's wife, obliquely, with a touch so clinical as to be no touch at all, though it's the most elemental kind of touching.
"A child will be born for Kathy + Joe," wrote Kathy Aguiar in her diary, "by way of Wendy's egg and God's will."
* * *
The sisters study up on the procedure in a women's health book, then decide to use the cozy guest room of Kathy and Joe's home, taking great care for everyone's privacy, because, as Wendy points out in her down-to-earth way, they'll still have to face each other at Thanksgiving dinner.
Everyone agrees it will be less awkward if, on Insemination Day, the two major players - Joe and Wendy - don't have to see one another at all.
A kind of relay is arranged. And, just as in a race, time is important; sperm don't live long outside of the body.
Joe does his part privately, then exits quickly out the front door, to go visit friends.
Wendy, meanwhile, arrives by another street at the house's rear driveway. When Kathy signals that Joe is gone by flipping the back-porch light on and off, Wendy comes in the back door and heads for the guest room, where - surrounded by Kathy's good-luck photos and mementos - she tries to relax.
In the bathroom, Kathy draws the sperm into a needle-less syringe, hands it to Wendy, then leaves the room. (The sisters, while close, are also modest.)
"This is God's will," says Kathy afterward, as they wait for a pepperoni pizza to be delivered.
"We'll see," says her sister.
* * *
"The womb has dreams," said the writer Anais Nin, and so, too, must the place where a womb had been, for Kathy finds herself on the cusp of 40 with a powerful urge demanding attention.
It's as if, after years of living under the weight of an enormous "no," her world is now one big "yes."
She starts a special diary, a chronicle for her someday-child to read, filling it with her thoughts and feelings, and exclamations of love and happiness. She tells everyone she knows, and even some strangers, about the special project - how her sister Wendy is going to bear a child for them.
She feels so alive, so entranced by "this miracle we've all been waiting for," that an essential question - what if it didn't take? - never occurs to her.
Wendy, by contrast, is braced for a disappointment. She senses the approach of her monthly period, and it fills her with dread:
She is going to have to tell Kathy.