After he said “ok,” he, like many men I know had to settle into the wait for fatherhood. He didn’t have the gentle flutters inside his body, wasn’t prey to growth that makes life seem so real. What he had was the excited ultrasound technician saying, “And there, there’s a smile. Look, he’s waving.” And he squinted at the screen hoping beyond hope to see something resembling himself.
I don’t know what it was like for him those 37 weeks of waiting.
We argued about an amazing job opportunity that promised upward mobility and stability – a career path. I insisted that a traveling job would mean too much time away, too many moments missed of this new life. And he let the job go, promising to experience the fleeting moments of newborn baby, of crawling baby, of teetering toddler.
He assumed the role of father and accepted his son as an unexpected and very welcome gift.
But what about “us?” Was there one? Could there be one?
With critical eye, I watched him figure out his role in Chi’s life. If he didn’t encourage her, welcome her or love her as his own, that’d be unacceptable. Could she call him Daddy? Would it feel right for either of them? They worked out a relationship, figured out one another’s place in the family we’d become. And I loved him for loving her.
The love for this new family was overwhelming, and both of us were consumed by it. It stemmed unexpectedly from a friendship that logged hours lamenting about the futility of dating, where we found a commonality. Our personalities meshed and we shared a history. And yet…
And yet the woman that I’d become wanted, needed more. I thought about romance – impromptu flowers arriving at work to be admired by my colleagues; surprise dates alone with the kids safely left in care of family or friends; even just a handwritten note – crafted in that awkwardly twisting script by hand. But romance didn’t come in the ways I wanted. So I dwelled on flaws and on lapses in attention. I marveled over marathons of WE T.V., picking apart the ceremonies featured while crafting an elaborate vision of my own wedding – dreaming of a secluded outdoor location bursting with color. But there wasn’t a proposal being crafted to warrant the focus. And despite once being able to discuss anything at length, words became sparse when it mattered. Ambiguity seeped in, then, clouding the definition of “us.” And then, there was no “us” except where Ya was concerned, as parents. The family of four dissolved, a single Olan Mills portrait a visable, haunting testiment to its memory.
There’s an emptiness I feel. Yet another heartbreak. Except this time it’s cause is not rejection. Perhaps it was impatience. Maybe it was assumptions. It definately suffered from one sided confessions – unrequited admissions of feelings, of desires, or dreams. And in the middle of the hurt, once again words were missing for expressing what was missing and what void needed to be filled.
And what was spoken wasn’t right at all. “I don’t know how to be just friends…” And no sooner than the words were released, there was nothing left. In that nothing, unspoken, but amazingly and transparently proclaimed was, “and I don’t want to be anything more…”