Baby I Know Things Change, And There Might Be Some Rain, But The Clouds Are Going To Clear, And The Sun Is Gonna Shine Again
The shock on my face only lasted an instant before being replaced by a slow trickle of tears that never quite grew into the torrent that I had been expecting. After all, after two-and-a-half months of every conceivable fertility test and treatment I finally received the news I had been dreading and expecting all along. It was my fault. It was my fault that Greg and I were going to be an "only" couple. Yet even when you receive the news that you lack the capacity or the talent to do something it still hits you roughly. I imagine it's similar to when ballerinas or cellists receive the unimaginable news that they lack the talent to pursue their passions professionally. The only difference was I lacked the talent to have children. No big deal at all.
I next felt Dr. Welling's hand slip onto my shoulder trying to be reassuring, but how reassuring can the bringer of ill tidings be--especially less than eight seconds after delivering the direst of news? He mumbled something about being out in the hall if I needed anything else and that he wanted to give us time to collect ourselves.
I couldn't stop crying. There it was two days before Valentine's and we're hit with the news that, yet again, my love for my husband didn't mean diddly. I don't know who wanted kids more, the lovable galoot, who from day one of dating him already had names picked out whether we had a boy or girl, or the sassy ray of sunshine who had started putting away clothes for her children at age 11. To say that we were devestated does not lend enough creedance to just how inconsolable we truly were. And with every tear that fell and hit the linoleum floor the emptier I felt inside. I hit one of those plateaus, huddled over my knees, with Greg behind me where I felt so awful inside and so torn asunder spiritually that I actually reached a level of absolute incoherence.
For the first few minutes it manifested itself as nothing more than shallow whispers, the kind of low volume drone you would hear from scared prey or lost puppies. At first, I didn't even understand myself. I imagine I said words, but they may have just been the half-finished thoughts of a woman in turmoil. All the magazines always say the more traumatic the situation the more likely that logic and reasoning take a brief sabbatical only to be replaced by impulse and instinct. My first instinct was to rationalize a way out of it. Soon the whispers to my husband were replaced by catches of phrases about "second opinion this" and "impossible that." I was a good girl. I did everything the "right" way. I did not deserve this. I did not deserve this by a long shot.
I refused to believe I was being punished.
I started to yell at him to fix this--not that he could understand the least bit of what I was saying. I started to yell at him to tell me what we do next, now that the house we had purchased would have two extra bedrooms, now that both our parents would now be without grandchildren, now that all the trying and failing had ultimately landed us with absolutely nothing. I wanted the answers from a man who was just as scared and emotionally wrecked as I was.
I don't know what to do, Greg said. I don't know where to go from here.
And then he walked away and sat down on the far end of the exam room. I was thinking to myself, Hello, barren wife here. And, of course, I cried some more. If he didn't want to be with me, then fuck him. I wouldn't tell him I needed him and ask him to come over. I would get a divorce, that's what I would do. I would just take my belongings from our house and head for the hills. No man leaves his wife alone in a time like this, no man I ever knew anyway. When I was growing up I would see my daddy hold my mom like he believed in her. And when my mom was sad or distraught about any 'ole thing he would say the absolute perfect thing. When I was growing up I knew, absolutely knew, that I would marry a man that had all the answers when it came to making feel loved. I had thought Greg was this man, but the present circumstance was proving otherwise.
Longer and longer the separation between us grew. He was now slumped over in one of the chairs in the room, gaze directed outside the sixth story window at the city below us. I want to write that we heard the noisy clatter of the children playing in the school below us, but life was not the cruel. Nope, the only clatter I could hear was the construction kind. I remember because it was such a nuisance to even get into the hospital that morning, four hours prior. Had I known what the day would hold I don't imagine I'd have grown so irritated with all the delays and detours. I wouldn't have rushed here nor would I have taken time off of work had I known this was to be fate.
The longer he continued to look out the window the longer I continued to look, peek even, to see if he would be coming back to console me. But he never came. Eventually, I got tired of the waiting. I can only be so sad for so long. Instead, my sadness, as emotions often do, was replaced by a seething dislike for the man I'd been married to now for twenty months.
I didn't even bother changing out of the hospital gown. Hell's bells, I didn't even bother to grab my clothes on the way out the door. I had the impulse to get out of this hospital room, this hospital, this city, this life and as sure as hell get as far as I could from my husband. I blew by my doctor. I blew by the front desk. I would let him take care of all those unpleasantries; I needed to get away from this evil place.
I had made it all the way to the car when he caught up to me. I felt him reach for my hand. I tried to fight his grasp but I was already weak. I wanted everything to end. I wanted this whole day to be over. Somehow, in the back of my mind, I wanted to get home and sleep it off. The thought that I could forget all my troubles if I got some decent rest permeated throughout my brain. I felt Greg's head above mine. I could feel that he wanted me to turn around and face him. But he was the last person I wanted to face. Sadness had melted into anger and he was the easiest target. But I did not want to take it out on him. After all, it was all my fault. I had done this to both of us. I was the guilty party.
I felt him kissing the back of my head when he realized getting me to face him would prove an impossibility. He started kissing my lightly, like a grandfather kisses his grandchild, and never relented. He kissed me like that as I cried some more, face huddled in front of the rear side window, the tip of nose barely brushing against the icy acetone of the glass. He kissed me like that and never stopped kissing me until I finally faced him. He kissed me and kissed me until I believed he loved me again. He kissed the back of my head for twenty minutes.
It may not have solved all my problems or even made me feel the least bit better about the way things go. But I don't think I've ever forgotten what he did and how he did it. And so maybe I'll never have children who I will be able to love as my own, but I cannot say I'm without love completely. I'm in love with a man who is in love with me and even though it isn't everything I ever wanted, it's still quite a bit in my book.