My neighborhood is at the beginning of a long road, one named for the famous explorer who “discovered” California. As if it hadn’t been here the whole time.
My husband’s car has been unreliable in the last few months. It’s been to the repair shop a few times. The long faithful automobile is 14 years old (in fact it was constructed the year Darcy and I met) and Darcy had been postponing the inevitable for quite a while. (Mostly because of the plumbing and repairs to our basement that need to be done.) But he finally had to give in and purchase a new vehicle this weekend.
We decided to take it out for a spin with the kids. He drove along our long road for many familiar, happy miles until we reached a sunny seaside town that I love, where we ate oysters gathered a mile away.
Full and happy, we decided to do something rather foolish. We decided to follow the road until the very end, where the land meets the sea and a lighthouse marks the divide. Neither of us, even though we are locals, could remember visiting this landmark.
We set out for our journey amidst the bright sunshine. “Where are we going?” my daughter asked. “To visit a lighthouse,” I replied. “There’s a lot of fog where lighthouses are,” proclaimed Cassandra.
Almost immediately after her prediction, we winded up the two-lane byway and ran straight into some wisps of cloud which became a regular bank of that heavy, migraine-producing white pea soup the Northern Pacific Ocean is renowned for creating. We also noticed a steady stream of cars headed back, ominously, towards the sunshine.
“Should we go on?” Darcy asked. We both tend to get headaches from heavy fog.
“Yes,” I replied steadily. I wanted to reach the end. I wanted to show the children that lighthouse.
Google maps did not indicate just how many hairpin turns and winding sections our road produced. Our road! The one which was so orderly and well-traveled near us had become wild and unpredictable, with cattle grates and cars passing slower vehicles. It took 25 long minutes to go but a few miles. Finally, we reached an area of thick traffic, thicker fog, and cars parking along the side of the street. One car was leaving.
“Let’s park there!” I exclaimed.
We did. And we joined throngs of families and couples and tourists, hastily wrapping themselves in cardigans and sweatshirts, bracing themselves against the wind.
“I want to go back!” cried my daughter. “I’m cold!”
Darcy stopped a young couple heading back, towards us. I thought maybe they were honeymooners.
“How far to the lighthouse?” he questioned.
“40 minutes, at least,” explained the man.
“What?” I started. “How?!”
“You have to walk 15 more minutes,” the woman said. “Then you have to wait in the line for the tour. There are so many people waiting for the tour that you can’t get past them. You can’t even see the lighthouse, it’s so foggy.”
Well, we went back. We weren’t ready or prepared to wait in line. Our clothes were too thin. Our energy was too low. Our heads had already begun to ache.
“I want to see the lighthouse!” my son cried.
“Another time,” I said. Another time.
So we went home and I harvested some chard from our garden and cooked it.
“I started reading (Luna’s) story at the point she got pregnant with her second daughter. I read through her pregnancy up to current posts. Then I went back to her very first post (4ish years ago I believe?) and have been reading from there forward. It’s been actually really cool for me in a weird way. Since I know how the story ends, since I know what’s next, sometimes I find myself smiling when she talks about the pain of thinking she’ll never be pregnant again. Or the uncertainty of the adoption process, if it will work, if they’ll have a baby, if it will be a good relationship. I smile because I know how it ends. I can see 2 years down the road. I smile because I just want to say: it’s right there. Just hang on.”
Would you want to see to the end of the road? Not just your journey through infertility, but to the end of your story? Why or why not?