Down the Track
When I was a kid no one ever put sunscreen on me. They brought out the aloe when blisters bubbled across shoulders. Layer after layer, year after year, milky white turned to Indian red, then to translucent pink, filled with dew. Heat upon heat, until summer peels three layers down. That's how I knew I was athletic. Sun scars.
I don't know why I'm thinking this when the doctor in the white coat holds up form after form like retail displays: you can choose this or that, depending on this or that. "Your age is the single most important factor. Your eggs may be viable or not. If there are eggs."
Charts and prescriptions and calendars, statistical risk percentages, this test and that, and I wonder, suddenly, how old I feel to this man, wonder what he sees behind his white coat and thirty years. "They're going to retire me this summer but I should be able to see you through this process. " I want to say that then the door will close for both of us, but I know instead that the door stands open for everyone, no matter what the odds.
An hour home and I've left two messages, side by side, for the adoption coordinator. I want to know if we're eligible for the Waiting Child Program, if accepting a child with a moderate special need will suddenly make us young enough to parent.
The world is turning, egg-shaped, inside my lids, and across oceans. Spinning, I'm on that wave, at the front of the boat.
I've decided that I am staying. I am alive. That's taken forty years, but as my best friend says, "Well, Prem, we all get here when we get here."
We can't go before it's done, can't leave before it's over. Better to embrace the fullness of a dream, the wildness of an idea, the edge-factor of a statistic, than fade out, forlorn.
Growing up with an alcoholic, it was easy to adopt an exit strategy -- I'll fail before you take me down. I'll surpass all expectation of failure by fantastically failing to thrive.
That's a useful stop-gap measure, not so useful in mid-life. Old train tracks, I'd like to plant seeds and flowers between the rungs and put that route to rest. Up ahead and above, new and better technology for travel.
Consciousness the new transit, intention the new map, manifestation the new destiny.