Vessels: A Love Story
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An unforgettable portrait of a marriage tested to its limits.
When Dan, a writer with a passion for underground comics, and his wife Bekah, a potter dedicated to traditional Japanese ceramics, met through a mutual friend, they swiftly fell in love. “Of all the women I’ve ever met,” Dan told a friend, “she’s the first one who felt like family.” But at Christmas, as they prepared for the birth of their first child, tragedy struck.
Based on Daniel Raeburn’s acclaimed New Yorker essay, Vessels: A Love Story is the story of how he and Bekah clashed and clung to each other through a series of unsuccessful pregnancies before finally, joyfully, becoming parents. In prose as handsomely unadorned as his wife’s pottery, Raeburn recounts a marriage cemented by the same events that nearly broke it.
Vessels is an unflinching, enormously moving account of intimacy, endurance, and love.
script said. God, God, God, as though the word could cover up a name she couldn’t bear to write, let alone speak: Heather. Heather Kimble. I’d thrown out the letter. On the flight back to Chicago I started to regret this; to miss an ancestor I’d never really known, and one I’d never known about. My mom had given me something I’d never forget. When we got back to our place Bekah and I slid into bed and each other. I tried not to think about what else was inside her. I could feel its movements
her to sleep. Like a dog who has to turn around and around before she lays herself down. Like life wasn’t a route, but a rut. What shaped us, instead of us shaping it. At the center of every one of those turns was our kitchen table, and the bowl Bekah gave me for our first Christmas. For Willa’s first Christmas Bekah’s grandpa flew the three of us to his retirement villa in the desert. The pot in Poppa’s casita looked familiar, but it was more bulbous than the ones at our place. More pregnant.
concentration camp. The Lieutenant had run a rifle company. His job had been to keep men who were really boys alive. He’d done it, but not perfectly. Nobody could’ve. His boys had killed the enemy, but also each other. Fratricide, he called it: accidents. But the accidents didn’t stop when the combat stopped. The war went on. His boys who weren’t boys anymore went back to lives that didn’t feel like theirs anymore. One night two of them were arguing, a loaded handgun between them. Playing
The other half of my living was a book I was supposed to write, one I’d had all planned when Irene died. It was about comic books. The man who’d fathered them almost two hundred years ago had called them his problem child. That’s because pirates had copied them, and the copies had spawned copies of the copies, until people forgot the father. I wrote about that and three cartoonists I knew. The first was the one who had the same birthday as Irene; he’d written a book about a boy looking for the
Christmas morning I woke up before dawn. Snow floated like down from a burst pillow. I drove to my dad’s house, Bekah asleep in the passenger seat, Irene inside her. For the first time I wasn’t going home for Christmas. Home wasn’t where I’d grown up; my family wasn’t the ones that had made me. It was the one I’d made, the one in the car. I sped through frozen fields lined with broken corn. At the edge of one a pipe stuck up from the earth, spewing flames. The heat made the falling snow float up,