All Good Things : From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing (2013) by Turnbull Sarah

All Good Things : From Paris to Tahiti: Life and Longing (2013) by Turnbull Sarah

Author:Turnbull, Sarah [Turnbull, Sarah]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Published: 0101-01-01T00:00:00+00:00


For a moment all I could do was blink. The meaning of “one more try” was perfectly clear to me but perhaps because I looked so astonished Dr. M felt the need to spell it out.

“Have you considered giving IVF another go?”

I hesitated, unsure how to answer. “Well, yes . . . enfin, non. Not really.” Family and a few close friends occasionally dropped hints about “very good clinics in Australia.” But coming from this impartial professional the suggestion seemed nothing short of subversive. What of his talk about repetitive failure and the need to break the cycle? “You need to fix an end point to trying,” he’d advised more than once.

“We spent four years giving IVF a go,” I reminded him. Wasn’t I supposed to be coming to terms with my mortality? Going through the mourning process?

Like me, Dr. M was fond of the expression faire le deuil. But when I came out with it this time there was no nod of agreement or approval. Instead, my reply met with a subtle facial ripple that began with a tautening around the mouth then shifted up through his cheeks and ended with a slight upward flick of the eyebrows. In this room of carefully modulated responses it was about as close to theater as you got: a put-on expression of surprise. Counselors and psychiatrists must spend years perfecting it.

“But are you going through the mourning process?” His tone was as mild as ever but his steady gaze bore into me.

The air-conditioning hummed loudly. “Well I think so,” I started. “I mean, I’m trying.” My voice faltered. “What do you think?” I asked finally.

The answer came swiftly, as if it had been in some holding pen, waiting for the right moment to be let loose. “I think you’re frightened of risking another failure.”

“But I thought the whole idea was to move on!” I protested.

“But you’re not moving forward,” Dr. M pointed out patiently. “You’re not even going backward. You won’t have another try but you can’t let go of your dream. You’re stuck.”

Never before had he offered his opinion so bluntly. Perhaps he’d given up waiting for me to reach my own conclusions. His next words were uttered more gently, though perhaps this is just how my memory replays them. “It’s not a crime to hope, you know.”

It is probably not possible to explain why one simple sentence should provoke an epiphany. Words, however they might elude me at my computer, had lost none of their power. Over recent years certain statements had lodged in my head—sometimes to my detriment. There’s no time to lose, Dr. G had warned all those years ago. And now: It’s not a crime to hope. The message blazed through my mind like a comet, leaving in its wake a glorious clarity. For the first time in oh so long, I knew precisely what we should do.

In the clammy heat I ran back to Frédéric’s office, where the groundbreaking exchange in the green room was relayed breathlessly.


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