She was just a few steps behind me as we slowly made our way to the side of the pool to watch our children's swim lessons. We lowered ourselves into the pool chairs, hot white vinyl under the 90 degree sun, with matching weary sighs, and drawn by the sound of the sigh, our heads turned toward each other at the same moment.
There was a pause, then a quiet nod of recognition from each of us. I see you, heavy and tired. Drooping yet also bursting with life, with the new life you're carrying, and with the promise of a time drawing near. I feel your restricted breaths and the nerve pain in your legs and the aching back and the stretching, always stretching, and the tiny fists that punch your bladder so relentlessly. And I feel your heart full of longing and love for the one who has taken over your body so completely, and the waiting...and waiting...and how it is drawing to a close. I see you.
"When?" I ask her.
"End of the month," she replies quietly. And then, "You?"
"Beginning of next."
A pause, then a hollow, plaintive whisper. "It's...hot."
I close my eyes, sun beating on my face, and feel the trickles of perspiration over far too many surfaces of my body. And her statement resonates as something profound to each of us, and eventually I answer her....
"Yes." Sorrowfully, slowly. "Yes."
There is nothing more to say, and for the 29 remaining minutes of the swim lesson, we are content to keep each other silent company. It is easier, sitting in the sizzling heat next to each other. There is a comfortable camaraderie in the discomfort, in the sharing of the heat and the sticky vinyl chairs and the endless, restless shifting of limbs.
The half hour ends and our children climb from the pool and shiver over to us for towels, laughing and dripping and sparkling in the sunshine, claiming to be cold now that they've left the water. And she and I turn to each other again, eyebrows raised in mutual amazement, and shake our heads over the unfairness of the heat distribution.
Finally, a ghost of a smile, as she asks, "Tomorrow?"
And I smile back at her, "See you then."