I’m at a loss for words. I woke up and went to the clinic. While waiting, our credit card was declined (to pay for $500 worth of IUI procedure), which wasn’t what I was hoping for. Turns out that our past payment didn’t get processed yet, and our current balance, which includes the $2300 for sperm, and extra grand or so for ‘seeing the files on donors,’ shipping, Ubers to the appointments, storage fees ($50) and some other incidentals, exceeded our limit when added to our current spending.
We used debit instead.
All of this impersonal shit. Then we are waiting (for the sperm to thaw?) and there are cute babies in the waiting room. And another lesbian couple comes in, very pregnant, with donuts for the staff and big smiles. It isn’t like on T.V. I get called in. I wait for Allia. I feel nervous, which makes no sense, since nothing I do, or don’t do, right now will make any difference.
I lie down. The doctor introduces herself.
Last night we went to The Burdock, for a comedy show; my friend was performing. Unexpectedly, in walks an ex, one who doesn’t speak to me. She acts like the things I did in the end of our relationship are somehow different to the things she cheerfully admitted to doing to countless other girls before me. It wasn’t a good time for me, just months out of a long-term relationship, still very shaky and unsure… it wasn’t hard to tell that I was in no shape to be starting anything. She should have known. Arguably, she did know, and pretended not to see it.
Last time I saw her, over a year after our split, she gave me the silent treatment, until I pulled her aside, at a bonfire, and apologized wholeheartedly – I treated her with as much empathy and kindness back then as a broken person could muster. I did the best I could. She is not guiltless, but I definitely owned my mistakes. I paid for them before they were made.
How many times can you apologize?
Last night, coming into the bar with our friend, she said nothing. That’s how this will play out. Thirty-five and this is still the m.o.? I am too old for this. My wife looked at me and said, “It’s not about you anymore. You’ve said everything you can say… look at your life now. We are happy. This is what our life looks like. You can’t worry about the past.”
And she is right. She knows I hate feeling like I can’t fix the broken things. I crave understanding. But I love poetry and those moments of kismet are the things that give shape and nuance to the life we are breathing and building… which takes us back to this morning.
The doctor introduced herself: she has the exact same name as that ex. As she showed me a vial of sperm, she asked me to see that it matches. It did. Perfectly. Where closure is absent, maybe another kind of closure is possible.
This is the second time in two weeks that this has happened; a week ago I ran into the previous-previous exe; it was gut-wrenching. I cried in the car, after we parted, letting go of all the anger that 6 years of replaying hands around my throat has allowed to build up inside me.
I had been dreading that encounter, had given it so much mental energy, wondering when I would look into the face of a person who remains a source of anxiety and trauma – not so often now, but still sometimes, which is often enough… not wanting to be caught off guard. But… I was fine. Bothered (that this person still felt familiar enough to call me by a nickname), relieved (that face-to-face I held myself together, for all intents and purposes: fine). The moment passed and I could finally let go of all the memories and the power they used to have over me. That is not my life now.
U-turn. I am in the exam room. And now, writing this, I feel like it’s sacrilege to blend the sacred with the profane, but are they ever really absent from one another?
Death facilitates new life. Slate, wiped clean, with traces of blood, tears, … and semen (apparently). It was so easy, compared to our journey together up to this point. Anti-climactic.
It wasn’t at all like the L-Word (one of my only frames of media-reference), but on the table, as Allia held my hand, my leg muscles felt a little shaky. This is a beginning. Even if it’s not THE beginning. I feel peaceful, letting go of any control. All I can do is what is in my capacity to do… I can eat well, drink water, sleep, love, be happy. Take my vitamins.
I am ready for this, if you can ever truly be ready for anything. And we will call this possibility ‘Cortez,’ like a Spanish explorer, a ship, a sailor; there may be a Cortez I, Cortez II, Cortez III, but we will be hoping for a new world – obviously one without colonization, and the ills of imperial domination and enslavement, but since those already exist historically, maybe our maiden voyage can be a promise to trust life’s compass and our own guts to guide us, to let go of the enslaved memory of the past, of grudges, of control itself… and think positively.
Swim little guys. Swim.