late

This Saturday at noon, I was two days late. Maybe not by any normal calendar, but since I have started tracking, I realized that I always got my period precisely 10 days after I ovulated. Which meant spotting on Thanksgiving, period Friday. When that didn’t happen, I knew. I just knew I was pregnant. There was nothing, nothing there. It was the only explanation.

So my wife and I finished painting our son’s new bedroom, and packed up our car and drove to a small town in upstate New York. We walked around the town and looked in antique shops. We bought a coffee mug, and a $15 picture of a boat. We walked down to our inn and checked in. My wife handed me a pregnancy test, and I unwrapped it while I walked into the bathroom. I looked at her through the open door, as she sat there on the edge of the bed, looking back at me, holding the instructions that I already knew by heart. She read them aloud anyway.

When I sat down to do the test, there was blood. I threw the test into the trash, because I’d already opened it, and I cried. I crawled onto the bed and cried some more. I curled into the smallest possible position, completely inside my wife’s arms.

I have never had my hopes up like that before. I’ve always hedged, and knew there was a chance it wouldn’t work. I’ve never been two whole entire days late. The timing would have been perfect. I could have told my family in person, when they were here for Christmas. I would have had maternity leave during my favorite season. The baby’s birthday would have been nicely spaced away from the other kids’ birthdays. A million perfect stars, all lining up. Except that it didn’t work.

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