What we did, In questioning our biology and daring to overcome it equated to an illegal and clandestine affair, and thus our defiance of the gods meant that we could only visit Boaz when his practice was closed. So it was quite late when we emerged with the triumph and relief bursting in our chest. It was well after dark and in the middle of the week, so naturally everywhere was closed. Aoife had worked on and off with Boaz over a few summers and knew where we could find a gas station where I could buy a bottle of cheap wine. Then not wanting to go home we had driven to seaside.
Intoxicated before the bottle was even open, hand in hand we walked, danced and staggered along the deserted beach like teenagers after a debutants ball. I swigged straight from the bottle while serenading her beneath the full moon. She would take no wine, though with flushed cheeks and big wet eyes she looked positively drunk. As we danced I saw that the dark shadow that normally dulled her eyes was nowhere to be seen and they twinkled in the pale moonlight with hope and joy.
I knew there would be more tests, more scares, more tears but after years of living in a world of logic and technology, I had at last allowed myself to feel the hope that she had been telling me that I needed.
It is a bizarre concept, hope, based on nothing really. As a scientist I found it even more ridiculous than faith. At least faith was a belief with no evidence whereas hope was a belief system often based on contrary evidence and in defiance of facts. There was no logical explanation for it but we had needed it, and the more desperate we had become and the more we could not live without it. It is the epitome of human nature, its fallibility, and yet its greatest strength.
In the beginning, when the pregnancy just wouldn’t happen, I had engaged with the process eagerly trying to educate myself about techniques and best practice. I had changed our diet, eliminated our occasional smoking and even managed to build exercise into our already packed life. When things still didn’t happen naturally I was intrigued, I was after all a science nerd and this was a biological conundrum. At first I had set about analyzing the problem as I would a science project. I tried to stay objective and removed.
Oh the naivety! While I could never claim to know how women think I still should have known that that would have caused problems; she wanted me to join her, not fix her and she mistook my analytical distance for coldness and indifference.
After a year of this I had realized that I couldn’t just deflect her emotional maelstrom, ignore her irrationality and I realized that I needed to absorb it. Feel it. So I opened my heart to her desire, a crack at least because to feel the fullness of her need would have consumed me. I needed the same thing and that was a start, I showed her my desperation and begged her not to give up. I would find a way. While my science was physics I had studied the field of reproduction and recruited Boaz, my former college roommate, who was still habeen in our alma mater working in the school of zoology. Boaz knew all about animal husbandry and so I used him to fill the gaps in my knowledge. Animal reproduction did not have the same ethical or religious barriers as human and I wanted to understand all the mechanics.
And before you ask, yes a Vet did perform the IVF on Aoife. A regular OBGYN would never have attempted what we did. But those where different times and we had many, many years of desperation behind us. Six years in fact.
Six years of frustration. Six years of dread routine. Six years of anti-climax, upon anti-climax, interrupted only by the crushing disappointment and tragedy of our two miscarriages.
That morning as I lay there i wondered how i felt about her now. How she felt about me. We had both been bruised and bent out of all shape by the constant failure. Was that feisty girl I met in college still behind those chocolate brown eyes that looked so much like my mothers? She had been a distraction and an inspiration to me in those days. She had dragged me out of my logical, scientific world and showed me the rich fabric of the arts. She gave style to my substance and made me dream of the application of science and technology rather than it being an end in of itself.
She loved me more than I deserved and taught me about love. I was unfamiliar with the concept growing up as I had. Oh I knew about things like lust of course but with others I had never felt anything above the physical. With other lovers I never thought of them when we were apart. With her though i found myself craving her, missing her. I would be at work or study and find my mind wandering to her, wondering what she was doing, what she was thinking. The more I got of her the more I wanted her. When I kissed her in the morning I savoured the taste of her lips as much as the perfect pressure they applied, I never got the disappointment of morning breathe. She was never a stranger. Her skin, her smell, the sound of her voice became immediately familiar. I was desperate for her to the point where she became like oxygen or water, In short I needed her. I couldn’t get her out of my mind.
The cynic in me just died in her arms.