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On a spring day seven years ago I was driving across Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn feeling unusually right with the world. I felt peaceful and uplifted because I had, a few days before, settled in my mind a difficult, painful question: I would eventually leave my husband. We had children in grade school; I was scared of everything; I didn’t know how or when. But after years of tortured thinking on the subject, I had given myself permission to do it. I can still see the sunny day, my beat-up car, and the avenue. And then came something inexplicable and much more intense: a rush of elation, warmth, and contentment.

The feeling was so powerful and discrete that the first thing that came to my mind was conception. My children were both conceived in vitro, and after many years of assisted fertility I had developed the faculty of just knowing when I was pregnant. After implantation procedures during my quest to have a third child, I could feel the golden ball of a living embryo inside me. On one occasion, I’d even felt the instant I miscarried, a sharp metaphysical pinch, accompanied by a falling sensation, sorrow. My elated feeling on this spring day was wider and more transporting than pregnancy, but the glow was similar. It was much more than any life decision could account for, and it persisted throughout my drive, and then through the next days and weeks, a pleasure deep in my bones, a sense of inner peace and presence that I could check on at any time. Are you still there? I’d ask, and be answered, Yes, still here. Mathematically it was just outside the calculation window that I could actually be pregnant, but eventually I took a test, which of course was negative. Looking back I realize that the test was the first step in driving away the feeling, which I knew was irrational even as I enjoyed it.

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