Martha is married to an Uber driver, Phil. Phil has no idea, but Martha is cheating on him with a Lyft driver who winds up impregnating her. Phil thinks the baby is his, having no reason to believe Martha would ever cheat on him. I mean, how could she? She is too busy with her bi-weekly book club and her cooking classes down at the civic center; there’s no time in her schedule for it. Plus, her sex drive has been waning ever since the birth of their first and only child, Artemis — a whiny little number whom the couple both say that they love every night despite that not being the case. The resentment that the couple feel towards him is so palpable that the second Arty is old enough to have any semblance of self awareness, he will realize the sham of a life his parents have forged for him.
“This next child will be better, though,” Phil tells himself after hearing the news from Martha. “It will save our marriage.”
Phil spends hours at night in the garage building a crib for the future center of his world, even though his carpentry skills are worse than those of Jesus mid-crucifixion. He turns the garage light off each night with hands battered and bruised, each daily flip of the switch serving as a sort of strobe light highlighting the slow-and steady coming together of the nine-month, heart-filled project. Once he even stayed in during a 6.7x surge to work on the crib, because he isn’t as far along with its construction as he’d like to be.
Her water breaks on November 2, three days after Phil has finished construction of the crib. Phil drives her to the hospital, love and blood coursing so powerfully through his veins that he doesn’t even start the meter for the drive.
“I am not even going to charge you the $100 cleanup fee for all that amniotic fluid, either,” Phil manages to squeak past the lump in his throat and through the cheek-tightening smile on his face. Martha’s forced chuckle should have warned Phil of what was to come, but he is too ecstatic to assume anything bad can happen. Life has changed. Life is good now. Phil is happy.
Martha’s legs are in the stirrups, but they might as well be Phil’s. He wants so badly to get an up-close view of his child’s birth, the crowning perfectly symbolizing how his new baby boy — the sex having been determined via ultrasound two weeks prior — will be his life’s crowning achievement.
The baby plops out. Phil looks at him, then at Martha, then at him, then at Martha, then turns his back in shame.
“Phil, what’s wrong?” Martha asks. “Is the baby okay?” She is yet to make eye contact with her son while the doctor performs post-natal procedures.
“He…he…” Phil can’t make himself say it. He thinks of all the time he spent smiling in the garage building a baby nest for his little man. His still heavily-bandaged hands covered his face, and through them he spits the words that he knows mean the end of what was once a storybook love.
“He has a pink mustache.”.