Talk to the navel

[Scene: the May household bedroom, late one Sunday afternoon in November. MAY has spent the day in pyjamas (ie an old Harry Potter promotion teeshirt from the launch of Book IV, and thick woolly socks), and is now lolling on the bed, drinking tea out of a large mug adorned with the legend ‘Fuck Off, I’m Knitting’. She has indeed been knitting, and the cuff of a sock is on the needles beside her, resting on top of a laptop. Looking thoughtful, she turns to SATSUMA, her ovary, whose appearance (thank fuck) need not concern us, given that she is safely tucked away inside May’s abdomen].

MAY: Well, Satsuma, me old china, it’s day… wait… [she pushes the knitting aside and opens her laptop, types, and stares thoughtfully at the screen] Day twenty-four of this cycle, and you don’t appear to have ovulated yet at all.

[Long pause]

MAY: I am assuming you are doing this to be helpful, and, in fact you have been helpful, dear gonad, because now I won’t have to go through the near-traumatic hassle of re-scheduling surgery. So, err, yay?

[Short pause]

MAY: But you are going to ovulate at some point soon, right? Or eventually?

[Pausey sort of pause]

MAY: Though it does occur to me that if you could just leave it another week or so, that’d be excellent, because getting my period while recovering from the surgery would not necessarily be good either. I mean, puking with fresh abdominal incisions? I do not thrill at the prospect.

[Tea-drinking sort of pause]

MAY: Intellectually, I know that you, beloved battered and valiant Satsuma, are merely an interesting cross between a gonad and an endocrine gland, and therefore can do nothing whatsoever ‘on purpose’, and that ovulation has been most likely delayed by an unholy mixture of stress, weight-loss, and insomnia. It’s just nicely ironic that stressing about ovulating ‘on time’ and wishing that for once I’d do it late, has in fact delayed my period in a useful manner.

[Fretful pause]

MAY: Though the hormonal bender you’ve put me on this past week was, I think, unnecessary. Though you’ll no doubt blame that on stress and insomnia as well.

[Not much of a pause at all]

MAY: You are going to ovulate again at some point, right? Because last time you went this AWOL, it was just when I lost several pounds rather quickly, and I think you had some kind of cyst, and it was a year ago, and the two probably weren’t related, but I’ve just nearly 5 pounds rather quickly again, and what the fuck is up with you?. And yes, I do know black coffee and half a biscuit for lunch is an emotionally crippled way of losing weight, and I think you’re being unfair, because there were quite a few tuna salad lunches and Japanese soup lunches in there as well, which probably had no more calories than half a biscuit, but did have a lot more vitamins. So. Anyway, to make you feel happier, I am going to have cheesecake for pudding tonight. OK? OK.

[Tense pause]

MAY: And, Satsuma, you know H and I have been either a) avoiding sex, or b) using condoms, just in case, this cycle, as instructed by the Day Surgery Unit in their myriad leaflets? I shall be quite peeved if you’ve been making me do both of the above for no reason, because you have no plans to ovulate this year at all. I concede that using condoms doesn’t piss me off nearly as much as avoiding sex, but I do dislike both QUITE A LOT. Especially as the current batch of condoms squeak. There’s a time and a place for squeaky novelty rubber toys, but I’m not that sort of girl.

[Irritable pause]

MAY: And as for that row H and I had a few days ago, was that anything to do with you and your hormonal vagaries? Because, Satsuma, we both cried. And while my inner psychologist thinks this may be actually a good thing, as we were getting rather distant and weird and head-up-our-own-arse, what with various work-related tensions and the surgery going LOOOOOOOM and the lack of sex (sorry, that one’s me. I’m like a horny tom-cat with the sulks at certain times of the month, and H finds stress just makes him want an innocent cuddle and a glass of wine. Gender stereotyping can go fuck itself), it was painful to go through and didn’t help with the week-long Impending Migraine That Didn’t Ever Turn Up thing. Which, you can tell me, was also you, wasn’t it? The whole week was like Waiting for Godot with added ibuprofen lysine and nudity.

[Finishing the tea pause]

MAY: I’m glad we’ve had this little chat. So, now, Satsuma, in your own time… Satsuma? Are you listening? Sats?

[Distant, tiny rustle, as of an ovary idly turning the pages of the New York Review of Books while lifting up a tiny middle finger in lordly salute]


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