Learning to ride, falling down, getting back on
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When she looked in the mirror, she imagined herself as someone very different from the person she’d become. Not the sort of woman who was about to purchase a child on a home-equity loan from some poor young desperate thing whom fate had tricked and whose womb had performed the labor of incubation for nine months and who — for financial and emotional reasons, most likely — would be unable to keep the part of her that is advertised as every woman’s greatest joy. What would it mean, this exchange, and how would they explain it satisfactorily to the child, who would “want to know,” as all the books and experts repeated like a refrain? Certainly not as tricky to explain as anonymous artificial insemination, or the donor-egg scenario.
After all these years, my father’s rich, deep voice still filled me with a mixture of fear and awe, even over the telephone, “I don’t know why you people want a dog,” he said. By “you people,” he meant not just me and my husband, but everyone everywhere who has ever had the slightest inclination to get a dog.
She climbed the little trail to her cabin, her mind weary, each step pulling at her energy. But the sight of the door took her breath away. Something filled her, swept through her body singing. She went toward it slowly, then ran her two hands over every inch.
Adopting, reconnecting with an old friend, being AWOL in peacetime
I called my father at his bank in Tulsa. He wasn’t there, as usual, so I left a message with his secretary, as usual. “Tell him, Helouise, that he has a new grandson.” I had to repeat the message twice, as Helouise was well aware that I was an only child and quite unmarried.