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“Well, we always said thirty,” Ryan said, as if thirty was decades away.

“Yeah, I know,” I said. “But you’re twenty-eight. I’ll be twenty-eight soon, too. We’re two years from thirty.”

Ryan thought about it. “Yeah, two years doesn’t really seem like a long time.”

“Do you really think we’ll be ready for kids in two years? Do you feel like we are there yet?”

“No,” he said plainly. “I guess I don’t.”

It was quiet for a while, and since we’d already turned out the lights, I wasn’t sure if maybe we were done talking, if we were on our way to falling asleep.

I had started to fade a bit, started to dream, when I heard Ryan say, “That was just a guess, though, when we said thirty. We could do thirty-two, maybe. Or thirty-four.”

“Yeah,” I chimed in. “Or thirty-six. Plenty of people have kids when they are past forty, even.”

“Or not at all,” Ryan said. It wasn’t loaded. His voice wasn’t pointed. It was just a fact. Some couples don’t have kids at all. There’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with not being ready, not knowing if you are up for it.

“Right,” I said. “I mean, we can just play it by ear. Doesn’t have to be thirty just because we planned on thirty.”

“Right,” he said. The word hung in the air.

We had plenty of time to decide what we wanted. We were still young. And yet I couldn’t help but feel a type of disappointment that I’d never felt before: a sense that the future might not turn out exactly the way we pictured it.

“I love you,” I said into the darkness.

“I love you, too,” he said, and then we fell asleep, Thumper in between us.


I was reading a magazine in bed. Ryan was watching television and petting Thumper. It was almost midnight, and I was tired, but something was nagging at me. I put my magazine down.

“Do you remember the last time we had sex?” I asked Ryan.

He didn’t look over from the television, nor did he turn it down or pause it.

“No,” he said, not giving it another thought. “Why?”

“Well, don’t you think that’s . . . you know . . . not great?”

“I guess,” he said.

“Can you pause the TV for a second?” I asked him, and he did, begrudgingly. He looked at me. “I’m just saying, maybe it’s something we should work on.”

“Work on? That sounds awful.” Ryan laughed.

I laughed, too. “No, I know, but it’s important. We used to have sex all the time.”

He laughed again, but this time, I wasn’t sure why. “When was this?” he teased.

“What? All the time! You know, there were times we would do it, like, four times a day.”

“You mean, like the time we did it in the laundry room?” he asked.

“Yes!” I said, sitting up, excited that he was finally agreeing with me.

“Or the time we did it three times in forty-five minutes?”


“Or the time we had sex in the backseat of my car parked on a side street in Westwood?”

“This is exactly what I’m talking about!”

“Baby, those all happened in college.”

I looked at him, keeping his gaze, trying to remember if that was true. Was all of that in college? How long ago was college, anyway? Seven years ago.

“I’m sure we’ve done crazy stuff since then, haven’t we?”

Ryan shook his head. “Nope, we haven’t.”

“Surely we have,” I said, my voice still sounding upbeat.

“It’s not a big deal,” he said, grabbing the remote and turning the TV back on. “We’ve been together for almost ten years. We were bound to stop having sex all the time.”

“Well,” I said, talking over the TV, “maybe we should spice it up.”

“OK,” he said. “So spice it up, then.”

“Maybe I will!” I said, joking with him and turning off the light. But . . . you know, I never did.


It was a Friday night in the middle of the summer. We were in the height of long, sunny days. I knew Ryan was meeting a few friends after work and wouldn’t be home for a while, so instead of going straight home, I drove into Burbank and went to IKEA. I had been meaning to buy a new coffee table. Thumper had chewed through a leg on our old one.

After picking out a new table and paying for it, it was later than I thought. I got on the freeway to head home and found that it was backed up for what looked like miles. I flipped through the talk-radio stations until one of them announced that there was a three-car accident on the 5. That’s when I knew I’d be there for a while.

It was about forty-five minutes until traffic started to pick up, and when it did, I felt my mood markedly improve. I was flying across the freeway when I saw a number of cars in front of me hit their brakes. Once again, traffic came to a complete stop.

I slowed down just in time, and then, instantaneously, I felt something slam into me. The entire car lurched forward.

My heart started to race. My brain started to panic. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw, in the twilight, a dark blue car veering away.

I started to pull over to the side of the freeway, but by the time I got there, the car that hit me had sped down the shoulder, out of sight.

I called Ryan. No answer.

I got out and stood on the shoulder, slowly maneuvering my way to look at the back of my car. The entire back right half had been smashed. My brake lights cracked, my trunk crumpled in.

I called Ryan again. No answer.

Frustrated, I got back into the car and drove home.

When I got there, Ryan was sitting on the couch, watching television.

“You’ve been here the whole time?” I asked.

He turned off the TV and looked at me. “Yeah, we rescheduled drinks,” he said.

“Why didn’t you answer the phone when I called you? Twice?”

Ryan made a vague hand gesture to his phone across the room. “Sorry,” he said. “I guess the ringer must be off. What’s the matter?”

I finally put my purse down. “Well, I was hit in a hit-and-run,” I said. “But I’m fine.”

“Oh, my God!” Ryan said, running toward the window to take a look at the car. I’d said I was fine. But it still bothered me that he didn’t run to take a look at me.

“The car is in bad shape,” I said. “But I’m sure insurance will cover it.”

He turned to me. “You got the license plate of the person who hit you, right?”

“No,” I said. “I couldn’t. It all happened too fast.”

“They aren’t going to cover it,” Ryan said, “if you can’t tell them who did it.”

“Well, I’m sorry, Ryan!” I said. “I’m sorry someone slammed into me and didn’t bother to hand me their license-plate number.”

“Well, you could have gotten it as they sped away,” Ryan said. “That’s all I meant.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t, OK?”

Ryan just looked at me.

“I’m fine, by the way. Don’t worry about me. I was in a car accident, but who cares, right? As long as I can square it all with the insurance company.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it. I know you’re OK. You said you were OK.”

He was right. I did say that. But I still wanted him to ask. I wanted him to hug me and feel bad for me. I wanted him to offer to take care of me. And also, deep down, I was truly, truly pissed off that he had been sitting there watching a movie while I stood on the shoulder of the 5 South, not knowing what I should do.

“OK,” I said, after it was quiet for a while. “I guess I’ll call the insurance company.”

“Do you want me to do it?” he asked.

“I got it, thanks,” I said.

The woman I filed the claim with asked me how I was. She said, “Oh, you poor baby.” I’m sure that’s just what they say to everyone in an accident. I’m sure they are taught to act very concerned and understanding. But still, it felt nice. After I reviewed all of the information with her, she told me that the insurance company would cover it after all. We just had to pay the deductible.