"So, you do you guys have any kids?"
Thinking he was being helpful, bff nearly jumped to answer for us, "No." And gave his brother a glare like that conversation is so over.
"Well, got any pets?"
"So....(truly perplexed) what do you do?"
M and I took a minute to compose ourselves and then rattled off the most recent lines in our resumes, and then hoped they would disappear as quickly as they appeared.
Perhaps he didn't mean it to sound as accusatory or judgmental as it sounded. Perhaps he's always that blunt. Perhaps they were muddled and sunstruck and missing a little bit of good old fashioned courtesy that night. Whatever the case, I just couldn't be bothered.
Couldn't be bothered to correct BFF who had the audacity to erase I. and J. from the map. Couldn't be bothered to school BFF's brother that there is more to life than what one does to get a paycheck.
But yet, they left, and I was bothered.
As was M. So we got in the car and drove. Drove to the beach. Drove to the boardwalk. Walked around. Walked around. And didn't say much, but I kept wondering in my head, well, what DO I DO? What was the answer I wanted to give?
Clearly saying that you grieve daily while trying to figure out some way, any way to safely bring one or two of those little embryos on ice into the world is not the story most of the world wants to hear. And what would give this drunken stranger the right to know that story anyway?
But any other answer is short of the truth.
Molly at The Unlucky Lottery is right. It does get better. At least the grieving. The infertility, the lost ability to carry a child within me, the barriers and roadblocks we are facing with going a gestational carrier route....that doesn't seem to be getting any better. The world goes on. We stay here. The stasis is cruel. But the pain of loss, the desire to not even be here, that actually does fade, at least to the point where you look stable enough that someone doesn't think twice to demand to know what you do and then sniff at your answers.
I can't imagine what I would have said to this man a year ago. A year ago when my guns were blazing and all bets were off. When I found just a little bit of pleasure seeing some people visibly recoil when I told them my babies were dead. If only to teach them a lesson for being, so, so, normal. So seemingly untouched.
Don't get me wrong. The need to get the facts right doesn't completely go away. But as Tracy so eloquently says,
I think we've learned to wear our peculiar mix of joy and despair a little more gracefully. People do less brow-furrowing when I engage them in mundane small talk...and hey, I can engage in mundane small talk! T almost electronically eviscerated an FB friend who wandered into my lane last week (she responded to my post about my early-rising dog with a complaint about her twins who won't sleep in) but we discussed and decided we shouldn't rain on her parade.I'd like to think we think more about other people's parades these days, too.
So bff's brother learned that I'm in the nonprofit world and M. is a web producer. We live in different state than my parents and yes we think their new house is lovely. We've been together over a decade. We like to kayak and to be outside. Hmm, that's about it. Interview over.
How mundane. How seemingly normal. He thinks we are bores.
And that's just fine.