”I cannot rest from travel; I will drink Life to the lees. All times I have enjoyed greatly, have suffered greatly, both with those that loved me, and alone…” I close the book and set it down on the table between Tina’s bed and my chair. The gentle beep reassuring me that she is alive is like a lullaby as I look on her resting in the bed, tubes and wires weaving an intricate spider web on her, in her, and around her. I am thankful for them. They bind her here, to me, to our daughter…
Our daughter…a watery smile lights my face. ”She’s just so precious T. I can’t wait to see your face light up when you meet her. She’s just so beautiful…” I slouch down in my chair and gaze at her. ”I visited her earlier today and the most amazing thing happened. I had my hands in the large gloves and I was touching her, just touching her, willing her to know how much she’s loved.” Quiet tears escape my eyes and I sniff before swallowing hard. ”She reached up T…she reached up to me with her tiny hand and grabbed my finger. It couldn’t even get all the way around it, but…” I laugh through my tears. ”…but her grip is so strong…so wonderfully strong…”
I look up as the nurse comes in and checks Tina’s vitals. I lean forward, letting out a huge breath, and nervously watch her. She checks something off on her chart and turns to leave. ”How…how is she?”
She turns in the doorway and smiles a fake and practiced smile of reassurance and false hope. ”She’s just fine. She’s resting comfortably. I’ll be back in to turn her in just a moment.” Fresh tears track silently down my face as I smile back at her and she leaves.
I settle back down in the hard uncomfortable chair, my perch, and rest my head back against the wall as I turn to gaze at her again. I close my eyes and sigh. ”I love you T…so much…” Exhaustion overcomes me as I fall into a fitful sleep.
”Well ladies…and gentleman…” Doctor Wilson entered the room and smiled brightly as she shut the door. The look she gave Malcolm was flirtatious and I looked over to see Tina’s beautiful raised eyebrow. We stifled our disbelieving chuckles and Malcolm looked to us disapprovingly. ”…you’ll all be happy to know that everything looks wonderful. Your donor is not only in fantastic health, but extremely potent.”
Our smiles grew bigger and radiant and Malcolm winked at us. Tina pushed him on the shoulder and he turned back to Doctor Wilson as she continued. ”So then, we have two options: You can do a wash here in the clinic with Malcolm’s donation, but the donation has to be processed, and that can take up to six months, or you can conceive at home with a live donation.”
I felt my eyes grow large and turned to see Tina’s face flummoxed as well. Malcolm burned hot with embarrassment as he scrubbed a hand behind his neck and there was a long moment of awkward silence. She can’t be insinuating… Doctor Wilson started to laugh and we all stared at her disbelievingly as she hastened to reassure us. ”No, no…” She laughed harder and finally pulled herself together. ”I’m sorry, but your faces were priceless.”
She cleared her throat. ”What I meant is that since your donor is family and your immediate neighbor, you could just collect a donation as often as needed and handle things privately from home. Most same sex couples like the idea of eliminating external influences, and as mentioned before, being aroused increases the success rate significantly. Also, having live, healthy, fresh sperm is definitely the very best way to go.”
Malcolm released a deep relieved breath and the three of us laughed a little nervously. I met Tina’s gaze and she smiled with a questioningly raised eyebrow. I couldn’t help but grin warmly as I turned to Malcolm. He was still blushing hot with renewed embarrassment but his soulful, warm eyes were very agreeable no matter which path we would choose. Tina had watched this whole exchange and turned to Doctor Wilson with a radiant smile. ”Then I think that’s all we need until I get pregnant.”
Doctor Wilson winked at Malcolm, I rolled my eyes, and Tina covered her mouth, but the moment was too unbelievably wonderful to stifle the happiness. It was a good day. No, it was a wonderful day. We had all the tools we needed to build our family at our disposal. I couldn’t wait to get started, and by the look on the face of the gorgeous creature next to me squeezing my hand so tight with joy that it almost hurt, Tina couldn’t either.
I heard Malcolm’s voice from the back patio doors as he stepped into the house. ”Hey guys…” I finished my descent from the stairs to find Malcolm washing his hands to help Tina chop vegetables for dinner. It had become a regular occurrence for him to come over for dinner and Kit had been stopping by more often to join us as well. At first, I had been a little put off by it, preferring to enjoy dinner alone with Tina. But the more it kept happening, the more I began to enjoy the extra company. In fact, on the nights it was just the two of us, it felt almost lonely not having all the extra noise and chatter that a larger family creates. And then I’d gaze into the wonderfully bright and shining eyes of my wife, and for a moment I could see our future, our family.
Would it always feel this warm and full to bursting? I think it was then that I realized why this was so urgent for her. She had always known what it could be like if we could only get there; she had vision, and she just needed to see it through. I am thankful every day for her. She not only gave me what I needed, but all the things I never knew I always wanted.
Malcolm and Tina looked up at me, their faces brilliant and warm, and I knew then that I loved my brother, and as such, when I reached the kitchen I hugged him tightly. He was shocked and surprised by the uncharacteristic affection, but quickly wrapped me in his strong arms. ”Thank you Malcolm.”
I could feel his smile against the crown of my head before a gentle lilting whisper, ”Thank you for being my sister.”
I started to laugh and pull back. Tina kept chopping with a bright watery smile on her face as she quietly and unobtrusively took a backseat to the warm family moment she didn’t feel a part of. I wished with all my heart at that moment that her life would have begun so very differently. I looked to Malcolm and he seemed to understand this as he smiled mischievously and we came up to her, crushing her between us.
Tina set her knife down and abandoned all pretenses as she hugged us back tightly, almost desperately absorbing the warmth of the moment. We held on tightly for long moments before Malcolm said, ”We’re an oreo…”
He smiled so boyishly that I couldn’t help but laugh, after rolling my eyes at him first. Tina started laughing as well and we all took our places to help with dinner, settling into what was becoming a well-choreographed culinary dance. I pulled a tomato over on the chopping block, and began to dice it. Malcolm smiled and broke the quiet calm. ”So, how does this work now?”
I smiled at Tina and she answered. ”Well, I’ll track my ovulation cycle and on the days that I’m fertile, we’ll let you know. You use one of the sterile cups Doctor Wilson gave us, and once you’ve…given it your all…” She smiled mischievously at him and he blushed, focusing intently on his onion as I chuckled. ”…you either bring it over or let us know and we’ll come get it. Somehow I don’t think you’re interested in the rest of the details…” I choked on my chuckle and Malcolm blushed brighter. Tina set to work on her garlic cloves giving me a coy glance. I shook my head and focused on my own tomato. It would be awkward given that he’s my brother, but the ends justified the means.