GEORGE BAILEY BLEEDS . . . AND LASSOS THE MOON
Well. This is scary. I have no inkling what I plan to write. Y’all scared, too? Let’s make a deal, here. We all know that I lost the baby on Wednesday. No way around this moment. It’s almost as scary as having sex for the first time after, I reckon. Is it gonna hurt? Will I cry and screwball my makeup? Can I stand it?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Last night, the middle boy came out to dinner and my dumb ass (twenty-four hours out of surgery) decided to cook. Fajitas, guacamole, cheese dip. Afterwards, hanging onto the chair trying to look all tough, the Boy and I chewed the fat a spell about his recent troubles: it seems that the new cook position he just took went kaplunk in a wok. Turns out, there’s this fella in town–we’ll call him Mr. Potter–is selling the rented building out from under a Mom and Pop in town. Without notice. Eight souls are out of work for the holidays in a shit storm of an economy while Mr. Potter sits all lawyered-up in his fine, centrally-heated home. Now, this ain’t the first time this has happened in our fair town of Auburn, Alabama. Naw, Mr. Potter undercuts, buys out and lays out tens of folk ‘ary year with such a vengeance that he makes Joan Crawford look like Mother of the Year. I’ve heard tell of the horror stories, but this one hit home. There my boy sat: going to college, washing filth off dishes on weekends and working nights slinging Asian fast food to rich students. Not complaining. Waking up in a cold trailer every morning because he couldn’t afford to fill the propane tank. Eating ramen and drinking water before pulling an all-nighter for an exam. And now?
Well. He’s one good-lookin’ son-of-a-witch, but that won’t keep the lights on, will it?
So there we sat. Me, bleeding out an unexpected life, him fighting to keep his normal, and the Southern Fried Hubby attempting his “I’ve got this, babe” face. Now, I expect y’all are all: well. This is one shade of gloomy I don’t wanna see on a bathroom wall. And I suppose I don’t, either. But we ain’t done here yet, are we?
Not too long ago, I wrote a post about some trouble I experienced. I recollect that I told y’all that, when you are beaten to hell and back and cannot fight it your-own-self, the glass-shattering sound of community could sing that mess right outa yor’ yard. And so. I told the Boy about George Bailey. I didn’t know until this moment I was telling me. Funny. A few years ago, my friend Joe wrote on my Facebook page that I was the George Bailey of Auburn.
How long does the Universe plan these things?
Since I was a little girl, George Bailey–and the man who played him–has been my hero. Those of us who were not born into money, or who did not marry for it, have taken a very Bailey-esque road. This has been especially true if we have stood ground regardless of the cost, regardless of the snipping and snapping black kur dogs that wait for our injury, and in spite of the inevitable loss of material gain ‘ary time we make that damnable stand. Our enemies forget to factor that it was a choice to do it in the first place, foam and slobber at our heels as we bleed, steal what is not theirs to bank and wait for what they expect will be a glorious tragedy. But then?
Ah. The Potters of the world misstep. They have no concept of the good Ol’ Savings and Loan and the hearts of those who invest in blood and bone. But I do.
Ah. Shit. I am going to talk about it, ain’t I? (Yup. It does hurt. And it does screwball my eye makeup.)
Me and my honey tried like rabbits to have a baby when we found each other in 2008. I was forty-two, he was twenty-eight, and the age difference wasn’t even the culprit. I remember him saying to me: Baby. I’m just relieved that when I found you, you weren’t a man. On account of nothing would have stopped this train. It was love, it was real, it was the stuff that folks attempt to replicate in movies. He walked on his hands in the rain for me, I told him my secrets, let him touch my face, adopt my child. We were Camelot.
And then . . . we had her . . . and then . . . we lost her . . . and then . . . we lost each other. Somewhere in between, there were Halloween parties, initiations, goddess lessons, hot-buttered rum and broken wine glasses. They say that losing a baby can kill a marriage. I would like to stab “They” in the neck. Because They are fucking dead on. Three years went by in blasphemous quickening, marked by arguments of money. Misplaced socks. Missed oil changes. And more cigarettes and wine than Satan himself could have consumed to drown the pain of that tiny female child-hope. It was nobody’s fault. And it was everyone’s.
Until two months ago. Nothing could have prepared me for those double pink lines. I had become numb. Numb. Lost my ass trying to find my elbow. And all the heartache of losing Riley suddenly rushed back into my veins along with deadly doses of HCG that no Tylenol could assuage. I found myself not allowing him, with those sweet eyes, to come with me to ultrasounds. He can’t take it again, I thought. Watching her kick her legs, seeing that sweet lima bean grow into hope. Ah. We lie to ourselves, yes? Yes, we do. It was me, wasn’t it? It was me that couldn’t bear it again. Goddamnit.
And so, sister after sister went with me to watch that silver screen. Two of them cried in a parking lot when the heartbeat just wouldn’t light it up. Cynthia. Jill. Linda. Rowan. Charlotte. Anna. Anya. Wiebke. Trillium. Madolyn. Erin. Jodi. Gralyn. Elizabeth. Beth. Joy. Robin. Jason. (That’s right. Honorary Sista.) You were with me through it all. This intricate weave of sisterhood bore my ship through those waters, hoped for me, had faith in me, then carried me over to the other side. You were my good Ol’ Savings and Loan.
But now, for baby SFW.
You are my Clarence. I felt you hold my hand as they pumped forget-me-not into the i.v. You knew better than me, baby girl. I needed to bleed. I wonder, would I have fallen back in love with your daddy if you hadn’t fell from the sky? Would I have ever noticed that my heart had dulled to a robotic thump, that the feel of aged grapes turned to wine still burned my throat, that the sound of a hawk crying halts the cry of a child? Oh, Clarence. I almost forgot. But look!
My mouth’s bleeding, Bert! My mouth’s bleedin’!
You have earned your wings, my sweet. Go become somewhere. Mommy will be fine.
I finally woke up.