There you are. You’ve just told your first love about the baby because it’s the right thing to do and because at this point in time you’re in love with him and you want him to share in this thing you’ve made together. In your hands is a perfect starfish. You’re noticing its mouth now, marveling really, because there is another small mouth growing inside of you at this very moment. (Do you remember how this felt? All the internal shifting as your body made room for another? Do you miss it?)
Wait. Your first love is about to speak:
What do you want me to do about it? he says. His eyes are not generous, and he walks away down the beach just like he did the last time. And just like the last time, you’re heartbroken. I’m sorry, sweets, but this is your story, not his. We can’t change his response, which means you don’t have that many options here after all.
You push your finger against the mouth of the starfish but it doesn’t let you in. You press and press, refusing to give up—this has always been a strength of yours, but it has not always had a positive outcome. In your refusal to give up, you snap the leg. That starfish leg is more brittle than you’d expected, and you know deep down that it’ll grow back. It’s not your fault that it snapped in your hands. Really, it’s not. Please stop crying. I’m trying to tell you this is more complicated than you think. The best thing you can do now is give yourself a little grace. There will be the next man, after all, your true love (go to section H), the father to your other two daughters, and he will be the one that matters to your girls, the one you should be thinking about now, instead of that man Oren.
Go to section O.