For Who

Six years.  Married for six years and trying almost as long.  We’ve been talking about kids, wanting a family almost from the time we met.

At first we were patient and joking, never even thinking to worry.

Months went by.  A year went by and we became anxious.  Two and we were tracking, documenting, researching.  Doctor visits, well-meaning friends telling us to relax, to stop worrying, stop trying so hard, all in good time.  ‘Maybe you’re meant to adopt’, ‘maybe you’re not meant to have children’, ‘maybe’, maybe, maybe, again and again and again– Like any of that makes us feel better for every month we didn’t conceive, for every conception that fails to take, like anything will make us feel less defective.

But together.  Always together.

At least we had us through all of it.  We had each other through all the insensitive and invasive questions, all the rude assumptions, all the quick and blatant judgement, everything.  It never once crossed my mind to seek a solution without him.


“I couldn’t even hint?”

“No, the moment anyone knows, that’s it.  It’s all over.”

How could I listen to this?  How could I consider it?  In any other place and time, this would sound crazy, but now my heart is hammering a wild, yearning rhythm, singing with hope and not small bit of desperation.

The woman purses her lips and holds my gaze, her knitting needles stilled to give me all her attention.  I have the absurd sense that she’s just as aware as I am of the erratic drum solo in my chest.

But this is exhausting.  We’re both so tired and neither of us wants to be the first to call it.  We both know, both can see ourselves reaching the our wits end.

The woman starts her knitting again, as if giving me a moment to myself, but I’ve already made my decision.

“It’s been years since I last made anything,” I tell her.  I stopped crocheting after the third miscarriage, just after the two year mark.  I’d wanted to make our baby’s first blanket.

The woman shrugs.  “You’ll pick it up again.  Practice first before you start with this.”

I nod, fingering the yarn on her table.  They’re all so bright, so beautifully vibrant.

“What if I mess up?”

“As long as you don’t break the line, nothing will happen.”

I nod again.  He’ll be looking for me by now.

“What if–  what if I change my mind?”  Her needles stop moving.

“If you are at all uncertain, you must not begin,” her voice is firm and she reaches one hand forward to grip my fingers still resting on her wares.  “Once you start, you absolutely must see it through to the end.”  Her dry fingers squeeze mind, an implied ‘or else’ floats in the wake of her answer as the clicking of her needles resumes.  I don’t dare ask, ‘or else what?’  I’ve read enough fairy tails.  I get the picture.

I swallow the nerves in my throat.  I’m not really seeing the yarn on the table anymore.  I’m seeing his eyes and my nose, curls we’ll debate look more like his or my mother’s, a smile all new– all hers– And then I have a bag with three pounds of red, soft yarn and I’m making my way back to the main hall of the flee market.  I’ll pay this price.  I’ll pay any price for him, for us.

“Wow, what happened to just window shopping?” He asks when I find him near the front entrance trying to call my cell.  He looks relieved and amused and I love him.

It’s easy to laugh like I’m not sure I didn’t just offer my soul up for sale.  “I got turned around leaving the bathrooms and found this stall of gorgeous hand-dyed yarns.”  I open my bag to show him.  “I couldn’t help myself.”

He looks in, curious, and I can see his face soften as he remembers the baby booties and blankets started and given to friends and family with each failed try.

“Okay,” he says, kissing my head and taking the bag.  “Do you want to keep looking?”  He’s looking into my eyes and I want to make grand promises and declarations and astounding gestures to mark this moment, even if I can’t tell him why.

I shake my head.  I’m anxious to start.  Maybe I have sold my soul, but my heart already feels lighter.  Even if this is all useless superstition, it can’t hurt to try.


‘It doesn’t matter what you make, as long as you don’t break the line and you work at least a little bit every day,’ the woman had said.  I spent the next few days practicing on leftover bits and arranging a work space.  It felt like nesting.

“You’re humming,” he says one day, looking into our would-be nursery where I’ve stationed myself.  I look up and for an instant he looks as fragile as I’ve felt, like he’s not sure what to make of me and my sudden drive, like he’s too afraid to hope.

Smiling at him, I say nothing I want to say.

%d bloggers like this: