Pause and Take Stock

I wanted to sit down and write the first review for the Book section, on Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I also wanted to write up reviews for THE DESCENT and THE DA VINCI CODE, but now that I'm sitting here I can't think of anything to say.

Once again life intrudes and rears its ugly head.

To those people who say such things as telepathy don't exist, I ask if they've ever experienced the once-in-a-lifetime connection that happens to two people whose souls have, for better or worse, become intertwined. It never goes away; I've known divorced couples who can still with a single glance or uttered phrase know exactly what happening in their loved one's (or former loved one's) mind. I experienced that sense of telepathy again today when I called my wife this afternoon from the office. All I had to do was ask "What are you doing?"

"I'm at Corning, across from the Bass outlet shopping with my aunt."

That was all I needed to hear. I knew right away something was wrong, and that it involved the baby.

So it turns out that, even though my wife is under 35 years of age (she's 33, truth be told), and there's no history of it in our families, that one of her blood tests came back with a positive likelihood of Down's Syndrome. We had forgone most of the other tests with the thinking that, regardless of what happens, we would keep and love our child. Of course that was easy to do when neither of us were thinking that anyone could possibly go wrong.

So now we hear this news, and even though the doctors tell us there's only a 2% chance of this being positive, and that false positives are common to women of all ages, we're both completely freaked out. I left the office and just sat in my car for about 20 minutes, staring at the dust on my dashboard and wondering what I did wrong, what she did wrong, what we could have done differently to have prevented this. I didn't stop to think at all that this was a common occurrence, or that it was very unlikely that our child would actually Down's Syndrome, or even that despite all this, we have no doubt in our mind that we will have the baby regardless.

Apparently, besides being telepathic, I'm also a whopping pessimist.

So I called her back, wanted to be next to her, to hold her and tell her that everything is going to be okay and that no matter what I would be with her through everything and we would do whatever was needed.

Which of course is exactly the WRONG thing to do when your wife is out shopping with her aunt and just wants to forget everything until she can get home and deal.

Which is where I am now.

It's getting dark outside. The phones sit in their cradles, their invisible shadows looming. The answering machine has a blinking "2" indicating the two messages from our OB-GYN, the first with the message to call her back, the second with the name and address of the center to go get the amniocentesis done.

I don't want to touch anything. Turn on the TV, the radio,the lights, pick up the phones - I didn't want to do this except that maybe talking to a screen will help prepare me for when she comes home and I have to be the strong one.

I know it's going to be nothing. I know that all of this will be over soon, and we'll smile when we look at our child's eyes and recall how worried we were.

I know, and I still can't stop from shaking.