Imagine you are standing in a crowded deli, waiting for your turn at the counter. You are holding your little number that you got from the red number-giver-thingy as soon as you walked in the door, waiting very patiently, getting hungry while you stand there staring at the delicious things behind the glass.

And now imagine that you are watching some of the other people who came in after you get their food before you. You brush off the first one or two, but then there are dozens of them, all these people getting their food before you, right in front of you, as you stand there hungry. Some people have their ticket number called immediately–they don’t even know what they want yet! And you stand there waiting.

And then there are people who were in the deli before you, and they are still waiting patiently. Some of them look angry, some look resigned. Some, you can’t tell what they’re thinking. Will you get your food before theirs? Will other people get food before yours? Will the people who have to wait so very long get their food at all before the deli closes for the day?

There is no justice at this deli counter of fertility! I want to get pregnant NOW! It is so obviously not fair. To wait and wait, doing everything right, with nothing else to do but chat with doctors who assure you that you are perfectly fine and your number should be called any day now–it’s frustrating!

I do not want to hear about food from the people happily eating their bagels and lox. I do not want to hear about what it is like to finally get one’s food. I am very hungry, and the last thing I want is someone saying, “hey, how is your quest for food going? You must be very hungry by now.” Yes. Yes, I am very hungry by now.

How should one talk to someone trying to get pregnant, if the person doesn’t bring up fertility in conversation? Perhaps, like when you are near someone standing in line forever at the deli, you should try to distract them with conversations about other things. How is their family? How is their job? (Thank goodness we live in a society where one’s entire worth is not tied to fertility attempts–I am doing quite well at work these days, thank you very much.) There are so many interesting things to talk about that do not relate to babies or pregnancy. Pesach plans! Middle Eastern politics! Vacations! The Prison-Industrial Complex! Movies! The list goes on.

When I am not distracted in conversation, I find myself staring at the Person calling numbers behind the counter. Sometimes the Deli Person seems to be staring back at me. I do not look away. When I have been standing there in this deli for so long, it appears that we are becoming more familiar with each other, me and the Deli Person. Sometimes my gaze becomes angry, flashing eyes and flared nostrils, at the Person who is perpetuating all of this injustice. I have been waiting for so very long for the one thing that I have wanted more than anything else in the world for as long as I could remember, and the Deli Person knows this. And still I have to wait! I stare, deliberately, unblinkingly, at the Deli Person. I am consumed by yearning, filled with a passionate mixture of frustration and love, of hate and of hope.

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