Later that day, after we find out about the adhesions in my uterus, I see the summer’s first fireflies. My husband and I sit on the front porch while the dog sniffs the perimeter of a flowerbed. And there, in a thicket of shadow along our neighbor’s fence, small sparks of green in the dusk. I walk down to get a closer look—their wings are a furious blur against their heavy bodies, bobbing with the weight of their bulbs. On and off they flicker. They are calling to each other with those lights. Looking for mates.
The dog climbs up the porch steps, sits at the door, and begins to paw. My husband obliges and follows her in. He calls to me to come with him, to finish watching the rest of a TV show, our familiar ritual of comfort these past few years. Side by side, alone together, a family of two. But I’m not ready to go in yet. For all I know this light show has been going on for weeks—I’ve already missed too much. The shadows beneath our neighbor’s wild bushes are a tunnel into the past. The stillness of the air is the pause after the day’s long, hot exhalation. It has breathed out everything I’ve ever wanted. Everything I have ever lost. All I will not find my way back to, no matter how hard I ache.
Across the street two children, a boy and a girl, chase the fireflies. They kick at them, swat them, wipe the glow on their skin. They laugh. Their mother calls them in.
Dusk darkens into night. I go inside, finally, past the flickering glow of the TV, upstairs to my office. I sit down at my desk with pen and paper and try to capture this feeling, to catch this cruel magic like an insect in a jar.
What I don’t know, yet, is that after several years, surgeries, procedures, and losses, we will have a son. We will hold the heat of his small body against our skin.
What I don’t know, yet, is that even then the darkness of these waiting years will linger. It will make our boy shine all the brighter.
I drop my pen. I close my notebook. I turn off the lights and stare out the window. High above the street lamps, shadows have filled in the sky. It is purple-black. The air is heavy. Nothing moves.
Then right outside my window one more wink. One more pinprick flare, calling to be seen.