So the day after that kitchen incident, when I could hear on the phone that Leah had been crying again, my throat went tight. How else had I disappointed her since then?
"Are you all right?" I said, a bit whiny.
She answered, in a shaky laugh-crying voice, "I'm pregnant."
Now I'm not mystical, but a split-second before she said those words, I felt their meaning. Something had traveled between us faster than the speed of sound.
But my mind interrupted by jarring the obvious right out of my mouth: "No way! Did they have your blood test results already?"
"Yeah, and they're 99.9 percent accurate." Sniff.
When I got home she was still crying happily. We took a long walk around our neighborhood, neat little brick houses with bermuda-grass lawns and Norfolk pines swaying in the ocean breeze. Later that night, we called my parents in the United States. "That's wonderful!" they said. "How exciting!"
It was true—they were excited. But I wasn't, and I lay awake that night trying to figure it out. Should I be feeling more enthusiasm? On our walk I'd felt peaceful, but was that enough? "Everything will be all right," Leah and I often said to each other during those tough first months. It was something I believed without ever being able to feel it.
What I did feel right then was like a soldier who loves his country but is untested and unsure of himself and has just been called up to the front, after years of hearing the horror stories and seeing casualties coming back on stretchers. But when I conjured up this scene as I lay in bed, I saw only myself, alone. The truth was, I'd be taking a baby with me, and when I added that little person to the war scenario, I felt a surge of conviction. Suddenly it didn't matter whether I believed or felt everything would be all right—I would simply make it all right. Yeah, I would make it all right.
I stared up at the dark ceiling. The old fears had loosened a notch. Maybe I never would feel excited about having a baby, but I didn't feel terrified anymore. That was exciting enough.