Saturday, May 15, 2010

The big news

The minutes between 5:20 and 6:00 stretched ahead of us, a cruel, endless runway. We labored at separate distraction. I defined myself in organic chicken and grilled veggies and engaged in an awkward dance with my BBQ. The cadent blood in my ears drowned out the second hand of the clock.

Finally at 5:59, I plopped down on the couch. Check, I urged. Check it now.

No. See, it's one minute behind. It says 2 more minutes now.

No. No. Ugh. Just be ready already. God, I have to pee.

Go pee.

No way. I'll miss it. Ugh, I can't do this. I'll be outside with my asparagus. I'll wait to pee. I can't...

I rolled asparagus stalks so their hotdog-grilled sides pointed skyward. The tops of charred trees fizzed a slow death above the pyre, their delicate tips burnt like medieval church spires. The heat from the grill distracted me and I nearly forgot the wait. I could feel E's pace without laying eye on it. The backyard air was loose with soil and smoke, but the air in our chests contracted in sync. I knew without looking that he was coming.

He appeared at the door, laptop in hand. Look. Come on. Let's do this.

Go ahead. I can't--I can't leave my asparagus. I couldn't look to the screen he leaned near the heat, the tears were so close just from waiting. I'd spent all day playing out the possible scenarios in my head. Either one, an extreme. Just do it. Just click it. I wanted to undo all the waiting, to wrap it back up like a ball of yarn and put it away. I wanted to stay in neutral. The thought that I couldn't undo whatever was about to be pushed me down like a bully in the swimming pool.

There have been few of these moments--these blinding white minutes when we look at each other and know life will be different no matter the outcome--when we suck air simultaneously in and fight the tears that sting at the corners of our eyes as we await fate's judgement. I grasped at seconds to stop time when the doctor searched in vain for a fetal heartbeat during my first pregnancy. I froze every muscle as I waited to hear Addie and Hank cry in the delivery room. But this was probably the first time we waited for deciding news on his career--his time, his freedom from studying--and it scared me to death. I was helpless. He was helpless. Nothing we did right now would change the outcome, but here we sat, waiting.

Come here.

No. I--wait. Didn't you do it yet? Just do it, okay? I flipped chicken, clearly out of control. I squealed and stamped my bare feet, trying to escape my anxious skin. My asparagus!

No. Come here. We'll do it together.

Damn the asparagus. I complied, unsure who was even controlling my body.

He breathed. Take my hand. I looked to the screen; the numbers waited impatiently in their appropriate boxes. The cursor hung over the "submit" button, taunting. I grabbed for his hand--not the affected high school girlfriend squeeze of interlaced fingers--but the knowing wife squeeze of palm and heart. I closed my eyes. No, wait. Open. No closed. Open. Okay do it. I exhaled, releasing my expectations.


Beat. Beat. Beat.

YOU PASSED! Wait, you passed, right?

I passed!

You passed! Ohmygod, you passed! I'm so proud of you! I love you!

I passed. Wow.

And like that, life changed. All of his hard work--all of the years of turmoil and fighting and studying--all of the nights away and the finals and highlighters and Bible-thin pages were suddenly legitimized. All of the heartache of a failed first attempt, diffused. Suddenly it's real. Suddenly the world recognizes what I've seen in him for so long. He's credentialed . He's credible. He's verified.

That's some big news.

Congratulations, E!


  1. Yay! Go E!! Congratulations!! What's next? :-)

  2. Congratulations E and yay for both you guys!!

  3. CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! Wow, that's great! And yes, Congrats go to both of you! That is wonderful news.
    Hey-also funny about the tabbouleh thing . . . I hope you try it! :)

  4. Much, much, much congrats! I love this post. I love the anticipation and your asparagus obsession/distraction. Go E! So, what's next? I'm afraid now that Law & Order is going off the air, the market will be saturated with lawyers looking for work.