Mon 7 Apr 2008
we made it safely home, four hundred vomit-free kilometres plus a few. my couch and i are learning to live with each other in a whole new intimate way that may actually precipitate me finally giving in and getting rid of this wretched, stained, scratched-to-shit eleven-year-old Ikea special in favour of something, um, larger than a loveseat. and work is crazy busy and so i have not had time to be bored on the couch yet, nor to internalize much about the fact that it is April and i am on bedrest. bedrest at fourteen weeks.
already, says my conscious mind and i know it will be long, starting this soon, and i brace for the endurance test. of course, already, says a voice that echoes deeper. it is April. did you think you could just breeze through April, blithe, unbeaten, unscathed? and i hear laughter – peals that skate down my spine – and i want to duck but i cannot tell which direction the threat is coming from.
twice before i have been pregnant in April. twice before it has seen my children into the world, early, untimely…once safely so, once not so much. i fear April in an animal way…warily, primally. i have never made it into May still pregnant. twice before, April has brought death into my house, my inmost heart…its eldest, the first who made me know i was loved beyond all else, and its smallest, the first i ever loved like that. even in the joyfully bittersweet April that Oscar was born, the first boy i ever kissed died of AIDS and was buried just a block away from here on what should have been Finn’s first birthday. April is a month of shadows, of stark wastelands around the crocuses. in April, i see ghosts everywhere i look, things lost: selves we all used to be in other springs that will not come again.
i have been sitting bovine on my couch, intent on not thinking any of these things. i have been succeeding, working placidly away, hollering for water and happily confined to the present. until, on a wander to the kitchen for a refill of my water glass, my eye caught the artist’s card in the junk dish that lives on our kitchen island gathering bread ties and old batteries and change and bits of things that would probably be better off elswhere. the artist’s card for the bracelet Dave bought me for Christmas, the one that only came just before my birthday late in January, the handmade one, smooth blue stones set in silver with a deco fastener. the one i loved. the one i realized, in the instant my eye recognized the card, that i have not worn in…awhile. that i knew was lost even before i went upstairs to check fastidiously, desperately. the one i knew instantly i’d lost without even noticing, somewhere in the course of the last few weeks. i only had it perhaps eight or ten weeks, altogether…and somewhere, unattended to, its fragile clasp slipped from my wrist and fell, and i did not hear it.
i hate losing things. i can still list the things of value i lost in childhood and young adulthood – a beloved boy doll left behind in a mall on a trip to another city, a ring swallowed by a public swimming pool, unrecoverable, when i was about nine, the crisp, disappearing fifty dollar bill my grandmother gave me for new school clothes at the start of high school, a copper bracelet – my mother’s – that flew off my wrist into Montreal harbour during college. over seventeen or eighteen years, these were the things that got by me. i was careful, perfectionist about honouring and valuing what i had, what had been given to me to use or take care of. i grew up poor but rich in heirlooms, only child of an only child. every thing in my life and my world and possession had a story, a legacy, almost a life of its own. at the very least, even the new things were carefully saved for, representing someone’s doing without. and so every loss made me cringe with shame and panic. every loss made me feel i’d dishonoured the giver. every loss was immediately noted in my own internal log and accounted for and atoned for ten times over.
but never before have i lost something i valued like this bracelet and not noticed for weeks. it’s thrown me off-balance, the fact that i was so utterly unaware, that i missed not only the moment of loss but the aftermath…that there is nothing to trace. i cannot even remember, not for the life of me, when i last had it on. and i do not like the way that feels. i am wracked with guilt about a bracelet that – while it cost a hundred dollars, making it the most expensive bracelet i have ever owned – still only cost a hundred dollars. i feel vaguely sick about it, and vulnerable in my oblivion. it is a watershed, in my mind, you see, a harbinger: all i value could suddenly be slipping away from me and i would not know, would have no warning, no recognition, no clue. and later, there would be no chance for making anything right…it would all just…be gone.
Freud much, anybody? it is no wonder, whenever the heck i lost this bracelet, that i didn’t notice until April.
but…but. some other small part of my troubled little brain has the temerity to hope that somehow, somewhere, that beautiful silver bracelet is rather a ransom, that it is the something greedy April has to take from me. that my unwitting failure to note its loss will somehow allow me to escape with the rest, with the other Christmas/January gift i am so afraid will slip from me beforetimes, be lost before my fool believing self even knows the difference. April’s blood money. silly. i know. magical thinking. and yet i prefer it to the idea of foreshadowing, as i peer out at this long, stretching month ahead.
i don’t really believe it. but i wish i could.