They came on Thursday just to make my acquaintance, the women from the Spanish Embassy. Instead of eating dinner we nibbled on manchego and chorizo and drank way too many glasses of wine, the husband constantly getting up to heap logs on the fire to keep it at a roar.
The evening was a comfortable blur of Spanish and Swedish and English all spoken in mad running dashes, and the woman who has known the husband since he was a little boy asked: "Don't you want to have children?"
This is a question the husband and I often get.
I told her that the thing is, if we wanted to have a child, it would take vast amounts of perseverance and patience and scrutiny by others, on account of we're a couple of queer guys. If all it took were a fuck, well, we'd have been fathers some time ago. Despite the fact that I'd decided years ago my life could be entirely fulfilling without becoming a father, contrary to what I had always thought. I was cured of certain romantic notions by spending a week with a six-week-old baby. The amount of work that little eight-pound animal required was mind-boggling. I decided then that I just needed to use up my paternal energy on my nieces and nephews, and live my life with all the freedoms I got in return for not being responsible to someone who would extend my existence by passing on my genes, whom I would love unconditionally, whom would hopefully take some responsibility for me when and if I became old and doddering.
"So what are you going to do since you won't have anyone to remember you after you die?" asked the woman who had known the husband since he was a little boy.
Well, write a book maybe, I said.
"Of course!" she said, and she laughed. "With children who knows how they'll turn out. This way, you'll have much more control over what you leave behind!"
The Swedish verb for the day is att ärva. It means to inherit.
- by Francis S.