The sunlight felt still-new that afternoon. As I walked and talked with my husband, Elias, my eyes soaked up the brilliant green of freshly sprouted grass, and the kaleidoscope of flowers blooming below the precisely manicured hedges. We spoke haltingly. What we left unsaid, was by orders of magnitude, more important than what we said. We held hands the whole time --that physical connection a language of its own. Spring’s arrival in London was palpable. Regents Park was spectacular in this season, in a well-tended, carefully managed way. Even the ducks in the pond seemed choreographed as they swam.
We came to an expanse of grass and made our way to a spot that was half-sun, half-shadow. Inside, my worries had settled like a lump in my rib cage. Outside was pure idyll. The contrast was not lost on me as we set our jackets down on the grass. Elias stretched out with his head on propped up on his backpack, and his fingers laced behind his head. I rested my cheek on his thigh and curled into a comforting fetal position. I listened to our breathing, to the birds, and in the distance a child squealed and giggled in delight. I squeezed my eyes with the force of everything I wanted, everything I couldn’t control, everything that was not manicured and managed in our life.
And then, after a long time, after I caught my breath, and our breaths started mirroring each other in synchronicity, I surrendered. I gave up on all the careful planning, counting the days, daily injections, our itinerary of travel, and all the “if-then” sentences running one after the other. Even the all-important doctor’s appointment for our IVF treatment process. I exhaled and surrendered.
When I woke up, it was to a clenching and familiar pain. Sweet relief flooded over me, and a shot of energy dispelled my languor. I squinted up at the brilliant blue sky and thanked a god I wasn’t 100% sure was there. “Elias”, I whispered, “It’s here. My period.” Suddenly, we are on the precipice of possibility again. Now, day one starts today. All those plans, built on the foundation of a wish, are back in full focus. Now, we will get on that train tomorrow to Paris and then in a few days to Zurich, before we return to London for a doctor’s appointment that may change our lives.
Sarina Prabasi is author of The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times (Green Writers Press, April 2019), Co-Founder of Buunni Coffee and CEO of WaterAid America. She was born in the Netherlands, raised in India, China and Nepal, and spent formative years in the United States and Ethiopia. Following a career leading initiatives in global health, education, water and sanitation, Sarina moved with her husband, Elias, from Addis Ababa to New York City, where they started Buunni Coffee together. Today, Buunni is a thriving business and a hub for community conversation and action. On Twitter she’s @SPrabasi
A percentage of proceeds from The Coffeehouse Resistance: Brewing Hope in Desperate Times will be donated to the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights (NMCIR), a non-profit organization, founded in 1982 to educate, defend and protect the rights of immigrants. Recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals, NMCIR is committed to expanding access to legal immigration services, participating in policy making and community organizing.