Mother-to-be, to be


I was the first patient to arrive, but not the first person. The lights were on inside the dull concrete block building illuminating a receptionist, nurses, counselors and doctors as they set about their day. Those other cars were apparently for the protesters who positioned themselves along the road and beside the entrance, waiting for people like me to arrive. Apparently their conviction hadn’t quite hardened yet so I walked a weak gauntlet as they halfheartedly make the case that I’m going to hell.

I waited 19 years to lose my virginity and 4 years to have sex without a condom and 1 month to take a pregnancy test and 3 weeks to get this appointment scheduled. All things considered, the wait wasn’t long but the weight of this secret on my conscience these 21 days has been like a migraine of the soul, or maybe something like what it feels to be pregnant past the due date– skin stretched and streaked, back bowed and aching, kicked at from within but helpless to meet the implicit demand of the one inside knocking to be let out. I’ll let you out, far before you asked. I almost wish for the physical manifestation of this feeling to make itself apparent because the feelings are so much yet I have nowhere to place them. This is the lump that has been bearing down on my mind since the day the stick silently shouted at me like this feeble line of picketers who share many of my feelings but none of the perspective. Fuck them. Fuck me.

Inside, I sign in and take a seat, setting the wheels in motion for what will be a strange mixture of medical and social services. First is the ultrasound, a process I’ve never experienced but have witnessed 1,000 times in the fantasy realm of television. Hollywood is obsessed with the symbolic poignancy of glimpsing a grainy sight and a muffled sound of The Future personified. I am making small talk with the nurse about her daughter’s summer camp activities in an effort to focus my attention and to portray myself as a more balanced person than this experience alone might suggest me to be.

Continue reading “Mother-to-be, to be”

Bless Your Heart

Grandma died last week. After 2 ½ years of bedrest in a trailer she shared with Dad and his girlfriend, she passed away. Everyone remarked at how she had been of sound mind until the very end. “Just yesterday she called me a nigger!” said one of the home-care nurses with the strange fondness that accompanies all manner of recollections of the recently deceased, he is a white man who had the thankless job of bathing grandma, whose general bitterness was made more potent by painful bedsores. It wasn’t ever clear to the nurse if he was being blamed for causing the the sores by not cleaning enough or for aggravating by cleaning too much, but those details didn’t matter much.

The funeral was miserably sparse. We tried hard to remember that you can’t judge someone’s life based on their funeral when they die at such an old age. At 88, most of the people who knew grandma in her prime are either dead themselves or at least bedridden. Maybe if we had gotten some webcams set up at the local nursing home it would’ve been a better showing. But probably not. Continue reading “Bless Your Heart”