The impulse hit me like remembering something you forgot when you’re already on the highway. Like forgetting to take your own pillow when you go far away, else when you arrive, you can’t get comfortable, resting your head on the memory of something you forgot.
I wanted babies bad. Imagining myself a father, I became infatuated, romantically attached to the idea of children, like a virgin, without knowledge of the price to be paid or the pain to be accepted.
Inside of me was an open, empty space, an emotional vacancy where a womb might have fit—I don’t know what else to call it. I had no womb—the vacancy, the physical sensation of emptiness, lodged not in my abdomen but in the area of my heart, lungs, and throat.
I was thirty-eight years old. I’d been single a long time—a barnyard rooster all my life.
Thinking about the women I might have married, I wondered if among them might be one who would give us another spin, this time skipping the romance to avoid the burn-out. Maybe if we treated marriage as a business, partnered with a clear purpose, we could work something out.
This was my idea: to marry a surrogate mother, then employ the surrogate to be the mother. Something like that.
I did not begin by recognizing myself as a would-be single father. I had no ambition to raise children alone. I would be incompetent without the overriding expertise, aid, and influence of a woman who wanted children as much as I did.
I was unusual in this regard, no doubt. I wanted children. To be a father became the mission. To surround parenthood with beauty and the romance of genuine adventure did not seem like too much to ask.