we stared intently, squinting to make sense out of the black and white blobs assembled on the screen.
“can you see them?”
“umm… i think?”— half-hoping that if i couldn’t, then they wouldn’t…be a thing. we were there for #2. but nowhere in my plans was there ever any inkling, an iota of thought, about a third.
my eyes were glued to the monitor as she clicked away, the cursor plotting points from end to end across two tiny, bean-shaped eggs.
for 26 weeks, i watched them grow—slowly transforming from tiny blobs into…life. hearts beating, arms waving, legs kicking. what was at first terrifying became both weird and wonderful. a crazy twist of fate that we came to not only accept, but embrace.
i looked forward to my weekly ultrasound visits as a chance to peek into this big, round belly and see the twins spinning, twirling, playing, a surreal glimpse into what was soon to be a very real part of our lives.
week 27. i got to the doctor’s office for a routine check-up, a day like any other day.
“let’s see how we’re doing!”
she slided the smooth ultrasound device across my belly, clicking away to capture the images.
not much small talk. strange…
baby A. click. click. click.
baby B. click. click. click.
back to baby A.
still no words.
in the room, usually filled with banter about how the rascals were moving so much that she couldn’t get a good view, the silence was deafening. i started to feel a sense of panic wash over me. my heart began to race. i tried to divert the attention, focusing on the muzac piping in through the office stereo. breathe in. breathe out. eyes welling up though nothing was confirmed.
after 10 minutes of staring at the ceiling, at the sink, at the floor—anything but the screen—the doctor entered the room.
“i’m sorry. one of the babies just stopped growing.”
and just like that, there was one.
“inexplicable.” “horribly sad, yet somehow meant to be.” all the things that people say (and you say to yourself) to deal with such a tragic loss.
when he stopped growing, there was a void, a hole, an emptiness, that with each day grew smaller and smaller thanks to the radiant bundle of energy and love and light that is my logan.
he was there. he was ours. he was part of our family. and then he was gone.
his name was luke.
flash forward to now. four years later, time has healed. i count my blessings every single day for the amazing family that fills me up, holds me up, and gives me meaning in this mad world.
but every time i hear that name, there is still a tinge, that feeling, the memory of someone that was a part of me, yet i never got to meet.
one day, my brother came over. he lives for horses. works so he can ride. it’s his sanity, clarity, grounding for his sometime frenetic tendencies. he lost his first horse suddenly to a freakish equine virus.
he too had a void to fill.
he spent every free minute scouring websites, viewing hundreds of videos of horses spread out across the tri-state area. after months of searching, he finally zeroed in on two. sirage was a regal fresian with an athletic build and an elegant gait. he was convinced that this was the one.
he put money down for the pre-purchase, arranged for the vet check, and planned the terms of the negotiation. in his mind, it was a done deal. dot the I’s, cross the T’s, and he would have his horse.
but in the days leading up to the purchase, things began to sour. the horse was slightly smaller than the standard. the seller became defensive, aloof, and refused to negotiate. what seemed so right felt now, in his gut, just wrong.
there were two choices…and just like that, there was one.
big brown eyes, the gentlest soul, a stunning yet serene presence.
“you can train a horse to ride, but you can’t teach him how to love. this one…he’s a lover,” said his previous owner, welling up as she stroked his soft, velvety nose.
this was it. the one. a new member of our family. and his name was luke.
was it a sign? a karmic signal from above? maybe. or was it merely a crazy, uncanny coincidence that brought him to us? probably.
all i know is that now, when i hear the name: “luke.” the tinge is replaced by comfort—a sense that maybe, after all this time, maybe it was “meant to be.”