We're in the five day window. I checked the calendar yesterday. And the day before. I left it out by the sink last night, so that I wouldn't forget. It's what I think about as I am awakening. Entangled in my dream, a piece of driftwood in a clump of seaweed.
I'll just check, that's all. Like checking to see if we have enough milk in the fridge. Or checking the roses to see what needs pruning. Just an every day checking. Not a what if I fail the test, how could I live with myself kind of test.
Besides, I already know the answer. I was feeling a little bloated yesterday, wasn't I? And maybe a little crampy? That's a sure indication that I'm not. But what about the drowsiness? Isn't it similar to the drowsiness I felt a few months back?
I pull myself out of bed and throw out, I'm going to try the test. Oh, is it already time? Jeff asks. I think so, I respond. I thought you smelled like you're having your period, he says. And my heart drops. What if I am getting my period?
I walk down the hall, double check the box to make sure it's the kind that works five days before, and tear open the plastic wrapping. After the test, I put it on the shelf above the sink and hardly look at it as I brush my teeth. Still one horizontal bar. But it's just doing its thing. It takes a minute or two to kick in, right? I start undressing for the shower. Jeff shows up at the door. What does it say? he asks. Negative. Oh, Sweetie, he says. It's fun trying, right? And he's too quick to smile, to reassure me, to hide his own disappointment.
After the shower, I check again, in case it changed its mind. Still a negative, a clear blue negative. And I don't let my mind interrogate me. What if I am too old, what if we had our only chance, what if I took too much for granted? It's a good thing, I tell myself. If it were a positive, could I brace myself for another possible miscarriage so soon? It's better to wait. It really is. And I need more time at the gym to lose the weight that I haven't yet lost. Another month would be good for me. Really.
It now feels like a dream, those couple of months. When I walked around, wondering if everyone could see through my smile that there was life growing inside of me. When every step taken, every bite eaten, every extra minute dreamt felt like a secret ritual, a series of small celebrations.