My wife goes in first. Her gown hangs over her belly, her hospital socks cover her feet. She doesn't blink or waver or need a hug. I kiss her for formalities sake. See you soon, I mutter, and she is off, through the light blue metal door, leaving me alone in the hallway I sat in last year while I waited on word about M.
is the girl I met twelve years ago and married eighteen months later.
Courageous. Determined. Poised. I had no idea I was looking for her, or
wanted someone like her, but she came to me in a rush, like a stampede,
and left me on the floor in a state of blissful bewilderment.
Truer grit would be hard to find.
I sit, in the infamous hallway, tapping on my phone, waiting for the
spinal to finish, moments away from meeting my son, and my mind is fixed
on how fortunate I am to have found such a woman.
give me hospital attire to wear over my clothes, each piece represented
by a different color, as if someone might confuse a slipper with a face
mask. Ocean blue slippers to fit over my shoes. A light blue piece of
mesh to cover my hair. Green mask to cover my face. And a bleached
white, full body suit that zips up from the crotch and is so undersized
the bottom of my pants clear my ankles by a good four or five inches.
dressed and ready in under sixty seconds, which is why I'm here tapping
away in between bites of a Payday that I purchased from a vending
The floor is different now than a year ago.
It's faux wood in dark and light accents. The hallway is double the size
I imagined from last year, like they added lanes to the freeway and
brought in new pavement. And its brighter, much brighter. I remember
carpet. I remember a narrow hallway. A lone spotlight shining down on my
curled up figure, fear and uncertainty emanating from my body like fog.
I remember a bleakness to it, a darkness, tattered ceilings and stained
walls, like a mental ward circa 1952. Now it's just florescent lights
and veneer floors.
If there was a spotlight on me
today, thirteen months later, it would reveal a different man, anxious
but strong, a man who understands sadness and has walked the road of
grief, a man fractured but inexplicably more whole.
Twenty-three minutes I've been waiting.
decided early on in this pregnancy to follow every doctor order
without researching the hell out of it afterward or contemplating
rebellion. So if our Doctors suggested we endure fifty non-stress tests
and twenty-five biophysical profiles and six thousand doctor
appointments over the course of nine months, we happily obliged. And
it's why I am here in the hallway instead of next to my wife. The damn
anesthesiologist, apparently, isn't fond of partners watching the
spinal. He doesn't work under pressure.
When we asked
Dr. Wu if he thought it would be okay for us to deliver early, he
replied, "let's take our money and run," and then circled May 7.
Thirty minutes waiting, too nervous to type.
Here we go...