It’s 8:24 a.m. Tim and I sit in our car in the hospital parking garage. Outside, the September sky is a cloudless blue. The temperature is mild. It’s a perfect day in Philadelphia.
The garage is warm and dirty and dark. There are tire marks on every wall. Even still, it’s better than out there, with all its sun and all its blue. It’s better than watching people walk to work like they do every day, as if this day is no different than any other.
There is no spoken agreement to stay in the car, but neither of us makes a move. We’re listening to a country cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You.” I watch the dial on the dash clock. Even though I do not want to get where I’m going, the thought of being late still makes me anxious.
After all, I have places to be. In six minutes, I’m due to check in for a D & C procedure.
Tim sits at one end of the car and I sit at the other, my shoulder and face pressed against the glass. Through the speaker, Carrie Underwood croons.
Tears stream down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
I move away from the window. Tim puts his arm around me and I lean my head on his shoulder, like we are two kids in love at the movie theater. Except this is not a movie, and if it was, no one would ever want to watch it. I realize I’m crying, I think for the first time since we found out our baby would no longer grow. I can’t see or hear Tim, but I know he’s crying, too. This is it: goodbye. Once we leave the car, there’s no going back.
And right there, in the saddest moment we’ve shared, I feel it—a fluttery brush of sweetness, a tiny coil of peace. We are going, and we don’t like it, but we are going together.
So we go. The song ends and we step out of the car. The humid air rises around us. The elevator sounds its oblivious chime. Tim is holding my hand, and I’m thinking, Oh, how I love you—deeper, wider, still.