I think about him every once in a while. How old he would be by now. (Seven.) Who he would have looked like. (You, but with greenish-blue eyes and freckles like me.) What he would think was funny. (Puns and silly words, like my mom.) What songs he would want me to sing when I put him to sleep. (Elvis, like when my dad used to sing me to sleep.) What he would like to read. (Everything, just like his mom.) But these thoughts bring little solace, and I can’t say the words out loud. No one else knew, you’re long gone, and I’m left with nothing but what-ifs and could-have-beens.
I would have been such a good mom. Everyone always tells me that I’m a natural. I know that it’s a compliment, but sometimes it feels like a smack in the face – no, worse, a kick to the gut. I see my nephew and my cousins’ and friends’ children, and no matter how much I love them – and trust me, I do love them – I am just so helplessly aware that there is one missing, one that I would have loved so much more than any of the others because he would have been mine. My perfect baby.
I know it probably didn’t seem so at first, but I didn’t really fault you for leaving after it happened. We were just so sad together all of the time: even the good moments were tinged with tears. You were so depressed, and I felt so powerless. Plus, on some level, the fact that I had been so scared and was more-than-a-little relieved after it was all over seemed to make you feel hurt and angry, but you never said anything, and instead, suffocated me with your stormy silence. Maybe you were feeling that I wanted it to end the way that it did, that I never wanted to have a child, or worse – that I never wanted to have your child. But it wasn’t that – it was that I felt like we were too young and that we had so much time and that we would be so much more prepared the next time it happened. If only there had been a next time.
I came close to telling someone about it once, but I caught myself in the nick of time. After all, he was our dream – our secret – and then, suddenly, our ghost. And now he’s nothing, and we’re nothing, and more often than I’d like to admit, I’m nothing but a mere specter of what I had been before what could have been but never was.