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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sound. Proof.

Dear Josie,

I had an ultrasound today.

Is it weird that I keep forgetting?  This most exciting, miraculous thing.  I'll be driving or eating or laughing and it will hit me.  The realization along with the paralyzing fear. 

It's impossible to ignore at the doctor's office, and there have been many appointments.  They aren't leaving much to chance this time.   I am forever grateful for the interventions, can't help but wish you had been privy to them.

I entered the waiting room and I noticed them immediately, the couple to my left.   He was shifting uncomfortably in his chair.  Her, a crumpled Kleenex in hand. 

I don't know how long they'd been there. Soon he approached the receptionist, gestured towards the neon sign on her desk: "Please let us know if you've been waiting longer than thirty minutes."

I heard her ask from the six feet away, "What time was your appointment?"  No appointment, the man clarified.  They had just been sent from their doctor.

I felt my stomach drop.

I thought of the ultrasound machine when they couldn't find your heartbeat.    The last effort, wheeled in by shaking hands not wanting to confirm.  The frigid gel I never felt,  eyes fixated on that still screen. The neutral décor in that beige room, impartial and detached as I became in an instant.

I could feel the lump rising in my throat as they were called back.  Hurriedly, reluctantly they walked as I had.  Into the elevator, onto the bed...

I was still waiting when they returned, saw the stains on her cheeks.  Her eyes red and staring forward, leading feet that longed to turn back.  He was crying but she was stoic, turning for his hand as they reached the door. 

An hour passed before I would alert the receptionist to my presence.  My long standing appointment time now a distant memory to clocks on taupe walls. The time that doesn't stop no matter how you will it to, dragging you onward in a bloodied captivity.  

I didn't mind, would have gladly let the plaid-covered recliner absorb me were it possible.  I  preferred to be forgotten there, in the cushioned potential of the unconfirmed.  I wanted to run after her, to hold her in my arms and never let go. 

I  jumped when they called my name, couldn't stop the tears when I heard that heartbeat.  It was strong and it was steady, as yours had once been.  I was relieved and I was terrified.  As deserving as I was guilty for this evidence, this undeniable proof of existence.  Grateful for the elusive sound that floors me, for this heart that beats with mine.

I could have listened forever.  And I couldn't leave fast enough.



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