I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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Wayne Scott’s first essay for The Sun, about infertility, appeared in November 1998. Nineteen years later he lives with three teenagers and his partner in Portland, Oregon, where he is a writer, therapist, and teacher.
The story begins with a message on Facebook: “I’m looking for Wayne Scott from the Baltimore area. A Navy veteran, about seventy-two or seventy-three. A relative of yours by any chance?” A phone call to my mother confirms that my father, whose name I inherited and who was close-lipped about his past, had dropped out of high school and joined the Navy when he was seventeen.
There is a bike path that zigzags from the east side of Portland, Oregon, down to the Willamette River, then along the austere black geometry of the Steel Bridge and onto the grassy esplanade that borders the west side.
That winter, after Betse and I discovered we were infertile, I became fascinated by pearls. My passion for them resembled an addiction, though I hesitate to call it that. There was a ritual aspect to it, a heady anticipation, an urgency I didn’t always understand.