Who Is My Love?
also in this issue:
Bigfoot: Alive in '04
Alert & Aloof
Pompano Beach, Florida
Who Is My Love?
When Alice was born, she was plethoric-- so red she seemed to radiate heat. The doctors had to unwind the umbilical cord from her neck and poke hard at her puckered, mottled breast before she could be coerced to take a breath. When she did, Adam felt his heart lift, for she was perfect. Even when Alice took a deeper breath and let it out in a wail, he couldn't stop smiling. He knew what was ahead: late nights comforting a colicky baby; long stretches of adolescent surliness; more late nights waiting for her to come home. Yet Adam smiled, smiled so wide it seemed unnatural to stop.
Now, years later, looking down at his daughter, there is, in spite of everything, a smile on his face, even as she lies still on the stainless steel. An accident, the police said when Adam answered the door. You have to identify the body.
The officer is kind; she lets Adam stroke Alice's hair one last time. He remembers Laurie when she announced that, finally, she was pregnant. He never told her, but he had started to give up hope, resigning himself to a childless, quieter life. He had endured the doctors' talk of fertility drugs, of surrogates, of harvesting eggs, standing with a supporting hand on Laurie's shoulder, even as something inside of him resisted those paths.
As he fingers the texture of Alice's curls, Adam remembers the calm ease with which Laurie eased into pregnancy. It wasn't uncommon for him to waken in the middle of the night to see Laurie sitting by the window, illuminated only by the faint glow of the streetlight coming in through the sheer curtains. Her hands always found a resting place on the curve of her belly; Laurie often drew Adam close to her to place his hands under her own, so together they could feel their child shift.
Yes, Adam says, finally letting go. That's her.