1. an environmental cue, as the length of daylight, that helps to regulate the cycles of an organism’s biological clock.

Something was wrong.

Annaleese had been quiet all morning and now she sat silently in the passenger’s seat, mindlessly tapping the back of her nails against the window. David would’ve thought she was lost in thought except for the fact that she was murmuring to herself as if she were engaging in a heated debate.

David divvied his attention between the traffic around them and his wife’s nonverbal cues. They’d been married for almost six years now and he had become acquainted with most of her nervous ticks over the years. But today he was confused as to what she could possibly be nervous about, considering it was the weekend and they were on their way to meet with friends before church.

“A penny for your thoughts,” he ventured.

Annaleese stopped tapping her nails.

From the corner of his eye he could see her turn slowly to face him. She was staring at him now.

“What?” Now she was making him nervous.

“I want a baby,” Annaleese yelled. She quickly covered her mouth.


Annaleese was silent. He quickly glanced at her to see if she was joking. Her expression was serious. He looked at her again.

“You said you never wanted to have children…”

“I know. I know! I didn’t!”

“What happened?! What’s going on?!”

David felt as if the car was closing in on him. He was starting to perspire on his upper lip. His palms were sweating. He flipped on the AC.

“Is it that bad,” she asked, crossing her arms. “You look like you’re about to have a panic attack. And now you need the AC when it’s 30 degrees outside?!”

He wasn’t panicked–although he was having trouble breathing–he was just surprised. When he first met Annaleese 10 years ago, she was adamant about never having children. She even refused to adopt. He thought she would change her mind when they were dating, but she never did. They had talked about it for several years.

After numerous conversations and arguments, he had to admit to himself that he still wanted to marry her. He proposed knowing he would never have kids. As an only child, his parents were devastated.

And now she was changing everything?

He wondered what latent zeitgeber had come out of dormancy and convinced his wife to relinquish her previous stance. He also wondered why he felt this nervous about finally getting what he’d always wanted.

“We’re almost 40!”

Now he was yelling.

“I know, so we have to start now.”


“Well…” Her voice was doing that high-pitched thing when she had done something wrong and was about to try and justify it.

“What’d you do?”

“I… stopped taking anything last month…so we’ve kinda already started…”


He looked at his wife’s abdomen wearily. “Are…you–”


David’s head jerked up in time to slam the brakes, avoiding the car stopped ahead of them.

He could feel himself shaking and it wasn’t because of the near accident. He’d never felt so out of control.

Prying his hands from the steering wheel, he dried his palms against his pants and took a few deep breaths. He kept his eyes glued to the stoplight and the cars ahead of them.

“I’m not mad…exactly,” David said, “But let’s talk about this when we get back home, okay?”

Annaleese was quiet.

“Okay?” There was a little more edge to his voice than he’d intended.





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