A journey, part 2: to all the men I’ve loved before

18 Apr

I’m sure I’m not alone in finding writing therapeutic. It’s not just the act of committing thought to paper. For me, it’s about constructing a story from the chaos. Perhaps fooling myself that there is some kind of order to this. That I was meant to go through this.

The universe doesn’t really work like that, I know. The gods have their two buckets and they just chuck stuff at us randomly from either one whenever they feel like it.

They just feel like chucking quite a lot from one side at me, lately.

Anyway, been doing my research and it seems like someone with levels as low as mine doesn’t have very many good options when it comes to fertility treatments. Pending further medical discussions, obviously. But it may be that I need to use a sperm donor.

The concept is both frightening and strange. I’ve looked briefly at the website of one of the major donor sites in the UK, where there’s a small handful of men to choose from (because UK donation is, by law, not anonymous, and not paid, there is a noted shortage of donors). It feels impossible to choose between them, given a few scant details of their hair and eye colour, height, educational level and cytomegalovirus status. Which is a virus we’ve all had but never realised it? Or something.

I find myself thinking about all the men I’ve loved and still love, and the things about them I hold dear. Two I’ve loved and been loved by in return: D, the cleverest and best man you could hope to meet, a PhD and an autodidact in computer-whizziness, enjoys coding his own little projects, likes to noodle around on the guitar, has an irrepressible charm and humour, brown hair and hazel-green eyes and skin that goes nut-brown in the sun; S, tall and lanky with sharp hip bones, dark curly hair and forest-floor eyes and long fingers, enjoys coding his own little projects and writing poetry, a gentle father whose voice warms when he calls his daughter ‘petit chaton’ on the phone.

The others that matter and have mattered to me: D, dark hair and dark eyes and a wicked grin, slim legs and the scent of cloves, fussy about his food and where to put his tea-towels, street-smart, the man who can make you think he knows you better than you know yourself, until you realise he doesn’t; R, dark hair and soft lips, enjoys coding his own little projects and playing rock guitar, decisive, efficient, a connoisseur of pastries and saunas; A, a jewel amongst men, dark hair and dark eyes, an intellectual and an amateur musician, dedicated sportsman and shrewd businessman, a loving father and the kindest of souls; J, tall, dark-haired and blue-eyed, a wit you can’t stop smiling with, one of the only people with whom I’ve felt the kind of chemistry that lit up my entire body from the moment we first met, intensely scoop-up-able; N, terse but sweet, enjoys coding his own little projects and lives amongst piles of maths books and philosophical treatises, loves film, greying dark hair and green eyes, makes a delicious carbonara.

My oldest male friends: R, the bee-keeper and astronomer, the most generous; J, my soulmate, the most intelligent person you will ever meet in your life, versed in every level of culture, funny and friendly and someone I’m deeply proud of; O, the gentlest, a wonderfully soft father, warm, a music-lover; A, strong and funny and smart, the man on the move, not afraid to show his underbelly sometimes; H, handsome and dedicated and thoughtful; A, the doctor, clever, selfless and brave.

And many more. Whether they’ve been in my life for years, or we crossed paths only briefly. Whether we were friends, colleagues, lovers, playmates, unrequited crushes or some combination. I’ve boiled them down here to brief traits, but of course, the experience of another human is always so much more than that.

Obviously, I would prefer it if my child’s DNA came from someone I knew. An ear shape I recognise, or a turn of the head; maybe the size of their toes or the smell of their hair. That I would see in them someone I love, or loved. Or even had a passing acquaintance with.

But, you know. With six months to make it happen, I have to be realistic.

Is there a dark-haired, creative, incredibly intelligent, green or brown-eyed food-lover on their books, who enjoys coding his own little projects and maybe dabbling in a little light philosophical debate every now and again? Warm and gentle and a doting father?

I’ll probably never know. And they say you should probably just pick someone with the same hair colour as you, which I guess is the easier way to do it.

Feels reductive. Feels sad. But it’s just a cell, and I suppose I have to boil everything down into the purely biological because this is the opposite of romance.

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