Last week, on a rather rainy Tuesday, we headed out to the bookstore in search of evening entertainment because it was just too soggy to go for a walk.
I wasn't looking for anything specific, but I found the lazy wander through the store (our favourite one - slightly farther away but worth the drive) very relaxing. I picked up an interesting looking novel from the bargain fiction area (because I'm cheap) and a crocheting magazine (because I'm delusional - I'll likely not make a single thing from the magazine because it all looks too hard, but it's cozy pretending that I actually could).
I wandered my way into the self-help section and off-handedly glanced at the shelves to see if there were any books on infertility. As it happens, I was standing right in front of them - a whole shelf full. I sort of just stood there dumbly looking at their spines, thinking about how odd it was that I should be in a position to thumb through one and pick up a tip or two - tips that I might actually need.
I took my time, weighed my options and plucked a title from the shelf.
It was like a weird Pandora's box. Upon opening it, the quiet of my lazy trip to the bookstore was shattered and my noisy, uncertain life rushed into my ears. All the words I try to avoid thinking about were swimming on the pages in front of me in ways that I presume were meant to be helpful, but just made my heart pound instead.
I wanted to put it down - as if closing the book would make the words not apply to me anymore. As if it would make me pregnant or not infertile or not the mother of a dead boy.
And then someone joined me, directed to one of the saddest spots in the bookstore by a loud and slightly bumbling clerk whose booming voice cut the silence of my melancholic revery. She stood beside me pondering the spines as I'd just done before reaching out and making her choice. I took a sideways glance at her. I wanted to see if she looked different - if she maybe looked a little like me in some way.
She looked normal. In her late 30s, maybe early 40s. Slim, pretty, ordinary. I wondered what brought her here, to the infertility section of the bookstore. I wondered about her journey and how long it had been. And I wanted to say something - to touch her arm and show her that I understood the nine million things that were probably swirling around her head - that had been swirling there since she first figured out that something wasn't quite right.
I looked at her again.
Then I closed my book, put it back on the shelf and walked away.
What else could I do? We walk alone.