Trying not to look at the timer on my watch, I’m running around upstairs doing anything to avoid the bathroom for three minutes. Three long minutes. Folding towels. Refolding towels. Making up the bed we never make up after a sleepless night of tossing and turning. Adjusting the comforter too many times. Organizing piles of paper into new piles. Or just moving them around. Wiping down the desk and bookshelves with the sleeve of my sweatshirt, and collecting as much dust as possible like it’s the shimmery remains of fairies’ wings. The more fairy dust, the better.
I let myself look down at my wrist. A few more seconds left, and I slowly walk back to the bathroom in measured steps counting them, too. I look at the sink where the stick is laying face down. I reach for it, breathing quickly, my stomach filling with fireworks and shooting stars that I try to squelch because it’s too early to celebrate anything.
And then I look and see: One. Blue. Line. I immediately toss it into the trash can.
I lay down on the floor and close my eyes. It’s only been a year. Some people try for ten years. We’ve only tried for twelve months. We’ve only started the medication. We’ve only started tracking the weeks.
It’s not helping – these words that have become a mantra of sorts. Words that I’ve memorized – I say perfectly each time, like the proper and necessary closure. Like a magic formula. An incantation that makes me eventually rise from the floor like Lazarus from his tomb. Only isn’t working now though. Month after
month for twelve months – it is a roller coaster ride – nauseating and thrilling, exciting and disappointing. But it’s mostly soul-crushing. Only doesn’t make watching baptisms easier. Only doesn’t dilute the headache of Mother’s Day. Only doesn’t keep my heart from shattering when I receive a surprise hug from a child or smell the top of a baby’s head. Only doesn’t prevent me from feeling stabs of agony anytime I see a swollen belly or an infant seat.
But, I stand back up. Only finally works. Even if it’s only one blue line. So, I find the calendar hanging on the wall, and mark another day in the month ahead. We hold our breath in the weeks in between as we count down the days. We dream of nine months. We imagine two blue lines.