by Jennifer Weitman

June 7, 2019

It was my first year of teaching.  He kept coming into my classroom. Collegial visits in the beginning.  He wore dad jeans and needed a haircut. His musical tastes were embarrassing. He was 9 years older than me and had a 19-year-old daughter. Other than our love of literature and shared “cool teacher” status we had nothing in common.

Then one night he asked me out.  We had beers at the bar down the street from school. We talked. He drove me home.  We saw each other at work the next day.  Said hello. Went out again. Again, we had beers and again we talked and yet again he drove me home. Then, one night we went dancing.  We drank whiskey gingers—too many—and walked back to my place. He spent the night and never left.

He knew I wanted children.  From the beginning. He knew.  He knew that my previous relationship had ended disastrously.  He knew that I was previously engaged.  He knew that my fiancé left me two weeks before we were to be married.  He knew that we had been together for six years and that we had planned on starting a family. He knew.  My father died unexpectedly a few months after my would-be marriage was called off.  The two most important men in my life left me in less than a year.  He knew.  He said I love you and you’re beautiful and all of the things a woman wants to hear.  He said move in with me.  It will be different.  I promise.  I should have known right then.  I promise.

A year and a half later I asked him: “kids? do you still want them?”

After a long pause he replied, “I want to want them.”

I sought comfort with a stranger a week after I moved out.  I had given up on my dream of having a family and was looking for a distraction. The last several months of my relationship had been fraught with frustration and tension and I just needed someone to pay attention to me. To think I’m funny. To tell me I’m pretty. To kiss me with passion. To like me. And to just.

As I walked to my car the next morning, hair matted to my head and heels in hand I thought maybe being single was no longer the death sentence I believed it to be.  Unfortunately, several weeks later, my belief in the horrors of being single proved true—I was pregnant.


“Am I doing the right thing?” I asked my friend as we pulled up to the clinic.

“It’s not time yet. You’ll give it back to the universe and when you’re ready, it’ll return to you.”

I wanted to say fuck the universe—that the universe is just some made-up thing women tell each other to justify their bad life choices; but I couldn’t because at that moment I didn’t have a choice. The devastating irony was too much to bear and as much as I wanted to want it—I knew I needed to let it go.

An hour later I was in a hospital gown with my feet in stirrups, waiting for the Xanax they gave me to kick in.  As I laid there, my hands rested on my belly and with each breath, I became hypnotized.

“Are you ready?” the doctor’s words drifted through the air and settled on my chest.

“Yes, but can I see it when you’re done?”


Ten minutes later I am alone.  I am alone in an office tower in the middle of the city.  I am alone in a sterile room where the tiny life that was growing inside of me just minutes before is now quietly floating in a specimen jar in my hands.  Content and holding the fragments of my mistake, I am reminded of my grandmother—when I was a kid she and I used to pick dandelions in the field by her house.  I loved blowing their little cotton candy heads off and watching their seeds scatter through the air. As I peer at the white mass of cells that look so much like those flowers I once picked, I think about taking off the lid and blowing—blowing as hard as I can and making it disappear.

I shuffle through the waiting room half an hour later and notice a young woman sitting alone staring at the ceiling.  As I open the door to leave the office, I bend down and slur into her ear: don’t worry—you’re gonna feel amazing when it’s all over.


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