When I was younger, I was never very popular, although I always had friends. I was one of those quiet, shy kids who was uncomfortable in large groups. I would look at the popular kids and wonder why I couldn’t be one of them, what made me different. I felt like there was an invisible wall between me and them, and that everyone knew it was there.
My family moved when I was in junior high school, and I thought that it was finally my chance to start over and have a lot of friends, but still the invisible wall followed me, and again, it was like everyone knew it was there. It didn’t help that it followed me to my classes, onto the field during P.E., into the quad at lunchtime, onto the bus to go home.
The only place it didn’t follow me was into the band room, where I hung out with friends who were just like me – genuine, slightly nerdy kids who just wanted to be themselves and have a close group of friends. They were my refuge in a world where I didn’t seem to fit in anywhere else.
And then I grew up, and went to college, and a whole new world opened up to me. I learned that in the real world, people aren’t categorized so strictly as in high school. I had friends from all walks of life, and it was a great thing to know such a diversity of people. The invisible wall seemed like it was still there, lurking in the background, but almost no one could feel it, only a few people knew it was there. And I was perfectly happy to have a wall between me and those particular people.
Now the wall has been replaced with a different invisible wall, which has crept in so slowly during the past twenty months that I only started noticing it recently. It’s the wall that divides me from the fertile people. I know that I’m partly responsible for constructing this wall. I’ve built it with my anger and my frustration, my resentment and bitterness. Some of it has risen on its own, created by the unfortunate circumstances of my situation – my unexplained diagnosis, the ease with which my brother and brother-in-law have had several kids each despite their broken relationships, the money and time I’ve had to spend on fertility treatments, the secret sharps container that I have to hide in my apartment.
And some of it is erected by fertiles, who flaunt their fertility in my face everywhere I turn. At the grocery store, where I have to turn the other direction or feel tears welling in my eyes when I see a young couple with their babies. My friends and acquaintances who post pictures of their kids daily on Fac.ebo.ok. The people on the train who discuss their pregnant wives or their toddlers at home. Every day there is someone new to avoid, someone new to make excuses to, someone else whose eyes I just can't meet.
And every day the wall gets higher and thicker and I am stuck on the other side. It’s also, finally, becoming visible. The unexplained, unnoticeable gulf that divides me from everyone else is slowly becoming more obvious to others. Friends with kids are slowly drifting away, leaving me more isolated.
I despair because the wall is getting harder and harder to break down. I’m terrified that one day it will become permanent.