CIRCA 193,000 B.C.
Near the Omo river delta, an ape noticed her body
becoming a host. Once more, she gathered for two,
slept on her side, set out to distract the silverback
from her rivals. The first time she went by instinct,
the second by learning. By this, the fifth, it is habit.
Even if she had felt the weaker arms or the fusing
chromosomes, even if she had known how the past
would suddenly break off from the future, even if she
loved this one the most or wished it not to be born,
she would awaken, eat, groom, play, walk, and sleep.
On the day you left this world, I exploited the grace
period for my rent check, sped across town to make
the drop before 5. On the way home, I stopped for
cigarettes and a nine-volt battery. Someone parked
in my spot. I waited almost an hour for a tow truck.
Seven babies were born in that same hospital. One
of them, like you, had arrived there much too soon.