Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What She Said

"I have a sister and she's in my heart."

The woman to whom my daughter innocently, even buoyantly, spoke these words looked at me, confused. I stammered apologetically, "she's a twin..." That's as far as I got before she was up, seemingly launched like a rocket from her seat on the low playground equipment. For someone less than a week postpartum, that woman had hustle! She picked up the infant seat holding her six-day old baby, walked over to her other son, and attempted to flee. She didn't make eye contact with me. Her flight was arduous with two in tow and awkward with us trailing behind. Not surprisingly, we were parked in adjacent spaces and there was no pretense of politeness. She pulled that car out as fast as the line of traffic behind her allowed. In the interminable moments of negotiating car seats "cheek-to-cheek", my mind churned and roiled. I had no idea how to interpret the situation clearly and react in a way that would lead to an outcome less shitty -- for either of us. Well into the next day, I'm trying not to think about it, with stunning success as you can see!

If there is any hope of letting it go, I have to write it out. Hey, at least my daughter got off without emotional damage, right? (please agree...) She clearly doesn't understand yet. She has asked me if I am happy that Eva is in my heart. She is fond of telling me that she loves Eva and that Eva is always with her in her heart. Because there are a couple of new babies in our lives, she often mentions wanting to give them baby things and occasionally will add Eva to the list of babies to whom she would like to bequeath some outgrown item. So, no, she doesn't really know what she's lost.

She still has her own hell to pay someday and I dread it like nothing else.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toward a More Perfect Thirst

If your eyes are not deceived by the mirage
Do not be proud of the sharpness of your understanding;
It may be your freedom from this optical illusion
Is due to the imperfectness of your thirst.


I feel I am consigned to an exhaustion of thirsts.

So imperfect was my thirst once that I scarcely knew the difference between one emotion and the next -- thought, in fact, that the shadows they cast were interchangeable. Maybe it is because the emotions I excelled at were of the indifferent kind. Maybe they were interchangeable; my 20s were sloppily oozing ennui, despondency, malaise... meh.

Now there is nothing so passive as that. I am never so detached and clinical. I have a kind of clarity that I lacked before, but I am so deeply deceived by mirages. I will them into truth. I have a very full secret life of secret friendships (Bless your heart! You're there!) and hallucinations of the ghost of a 4 pound baby. A flash of light. She is always a flash of light, reflections of glass, blinking LEDs in my peripheral vision. Momentarily, I am deceived and it is not the deception I despise, but the evaporation of the mirage just as I'm getting close.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Reading List

I finally finished Elizabeth McCracken's secret plan to enable Kleenex to dominate the planet (aka memoir, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir). I have had the book for I-don't-know-how-long. As in, I have an unedited proof loaned to me by a dear friend who got it from I-don't-know-who-in-the-biz-with-access-to-such-inner-circle-treasures. For vast lengths of time, I couldn't even pick up the book. Nay, I could not even look at the book. I had it hidden in a drawer of my bedside table, buried under potty-training stickers, the useless receipts I can't seem to throw away, and other mangled assorted  bits of  my life's shrapnel.

Though I wish I were just being poetic or flourishy in saying this, it is no exaggeration to confess that every single time I picked up the book, I cried. I might have read a chapter or a page or a paragraph, but I cried every damn time. I don't think I have always been this blubbering a fool, but what the hell, I am now. So it might not have been the best choice to bring the book on a work trip. It was ill-advised to open the book on a plane shared by 3 coworkers. I narrowly escaped their curious glares by being tucked into a window seat far from them, however, and their view of my weepy mess was further obscured by a matched pair of grandparents (and by matched I mean, the same butter yellow sweaters, white polo shirts and pressed khakis). There is something about McCracken's stoicism that brought me to my knees. I felt like we were partners in this story, the way my husband and I balance out each other's moods and weaknesses. I suspect the strength of her writing and her narrative gave me permission? space? to express what we tend to regard as weakness, the betrayal of those tears.

I know I'm not alone in saying that, Pudding, you are missed. You are loved. And you are remembered by so many.

Now I'm reading KuKd. Who knows where all this reading might lead? In a few years I might be ready for Dr. Davis.