The line.

There's not going to be a line. There's not going to be a line. You chant that to yourself silently as you stand in line to purchase your hundredth or so test, avoiding the smiling clerk's eyes as she rings you up. There's not going to be a line.

There's not going to be a line. There's only been one faint line in the last four years of looking, with a negative heartbreak immediately after. But, you still have to confirm. Just because you need the actual physical evidence in your hand. Because you need to stop your mind shaping every twinge into a symptom. Because you're late, and while you have been SO many times before, you keep telling yourself you're not going to look for the line this time because you're going to start any moment now....and you haven't. You'll wait for the third day, you told yourself. It will surely start by then. Then that day comes and goes. Ok, you'll wait until the fifth day. You're not going to go grab another test (you've burned through your generous backup stash already, you really should buy stock in these things) because you know there's not going to be a line.

But here you are, replenishing your supply because now, it's the 7th day. And while you KNOW there's not going to be a line, it's time to brace yourself and face the missing line again. Time to face reality.

So, you go home, hiding the test from your husband. Because you don't want him to know that you're testing yet again (you promise to yourself that it has nothing to do with the whole Pinterest-worthy surprise reveal scene that's tucked away in your mind....nothing to do with the "I'm going to be a big brother" dog sweatshirt that's buried at the bottom of your closet) and you don't want him to be disappointed when the line is missing once again. Because it will be.

You wake up the next morning, after your husband has left for work, bracing yourself. There's not going to be a line, but it's time to see the blank space. So you procrastinate for a few moments, taking your time getting out of bed. Petting the dog, checking the news. Then you can't put it off any longer, so you finally, reluctantly, take the test, but immediately set it aside, not even glancing at it. There's not going to be a line. You go into the other room, setting the timer. It goes off, but you still don't go check the test. A couple more minutes won't hurt, it's not like anything is going to change once you look at it. The line won't be there, so it doesn't really matter. You'll go on with your day perfectly normal and fine after checking the test, because you already know there's not going to be a line.

Ok. Let's get this over with. You slowly walk back to the test, picking it up, holding the clear plastic window away from you at an angle so it's not visible. You move to stand under the brightest bathroom light, take a deep breath, rotate it towards you. One pink line, strong and dark. And then a white space, with not even a hint of color to mar the perfectly smooth blank space to the left.

There's no line. And you fall apart.