Family and Relationships
I was alone with the doctor when I found out. I had come in for an emergency appointment because that morning I’d happened to notice the tiniest of smears on my toilet paper: a light brown smudge. Scott had asked if he should come with me, but I’d said no; it was nothing. If I hadn’t glanced down at the paper, I wouldn’t have known. I was eleven weeks along.
His palsied hands shiver as he twists the fishing line one, two, three, four times around, then threads it through. He pulls the tangle of line tight and drops the blue-silver lure. It swings between us. “That’s a fisherman’s knot,” Pa Peters tells me, and he chuckles and pushes his thick glasses up the bridge of his bent nose. “That’s how you do it.”
In 1994 I was twenty-two years old and had just graduated with a literature degree from the University of California at San Diego. Though I had no idea what I wanted to do for a career, I’d recently stood up on a surfboard for the first time and thought I might just have discovered my purpose in life.
Making green-chili stew, answering an ad in the “Casual Encounters” section of Craigslist, writing the number 8
It is 2 A.M. on a Sunday when my husband, Brian, and I arrive at the emergency room. The waiting area is strangely quiet, almost peaceful. The TV overhead drones, and a Latina mother and her young daughter sit in adjoining chairs, looking calm and wide awake. I take a deep breath and step up to the admitting window in my slower-than-usual, wide-legged fashion. The man behind the glass looks down at my belly and asks, “How far along?”
You cannot remember winter. You cannot remember the way the weeks of gray stitched themselves together into a patchwork of cold, the sky the color of a galvanized bucket, and the mud frozen at the lip of the pond.