Thursday, January 16, 2014

Poison and Wine and What I Remember


I still remember. There were days when we didn't get out of bed, because we didn't have to. We'd order a pizza and eat it in the bedroom while we watched specials on the History channel. We would walk to the sushi place across the street after work and talk about the news and about how tired we were while "Patrick" made us a Mt. Fuji roll. 

There were days when we didn't get out of bed, because there was literally no point. It was just too much to leave the apartment, so we didn't. We didn't talk about it. We didn't encourage each other. We just hid.

I remember planning our wedding. I changed our colors at the last minute because his mom couldn't seem to wrap her brain around the color yellow (gold? neon? NO, YELLOW.) I remember how he shaved his beard the way I liked it as a surprise. I remember seeing him the second I walked into the chapel and the way his mouth hung open and how I totally forgot that there were two hundred other people in the room with us.

I remember feeling hideous in everything I wore, and being told that I was being "too provocative" when I put on a black sweater-dress. I remember losing weight and how he hated it, because I finally was starting to feel like I was worthy of being seen.

I remember making plans. We were young, but we thought we knew what we were doing. We held hands and dreamed of rocking chairs on porches and kids in the yard and a little piece of land that we could call ours. We split up future chores. I'll garden if you'll mow the grass. We had a plan.

But we never had rocking chairs, not a single one. We never had a front porch or a little piece of land. We had kids-- dead ones-- over and over, and we were in too much debt to ever own anything. Our dreams didn't come true, and we turned on each other because there was nothing left to do. There was nothing left at all. I counted my losses and I ran.

I remember the day we finally saw those two pink lines for the first time and I prayed that this baby would make us feel more complete, or at least distract us enough so that we didn't realize how broken we really were. We had our names picked out, one for a girl and one for a boy. We were decorating the nursery in our heads.

I remember how we felt like we'd never get pregnant. Between the doctors' visits and lab results, we felt like obedient robots, not lovers, and the magic between us quickly evaporated. I remember the intense fear that came when I started to bleed eight weeks later, and the excruciating pain that came with each contraction, and the relief of the morphine when I didn't have to feel anything for a few hours. I remember I forced him to pray for me before surgery and how he protested despite my tears, and how he walked next to me all the way to the double doors as they wheeled me into the operating room where they'd cut our dead firstborn out of me. This was the first of the three dead children I'd come to know. We named him Evan. I have a memory chest in my room that holds the shoes he never grew into and the blanket my mother knitted that we never got to wrap him in. 

It's so easy to remember the good, and even easier to convince you that the hardest moments were trivial, like bickering over who got to watch their favorite show first. It wasn't that. It was quiet. It was oppressive. It was at times terrifying to love him. It was easier to compromise who I was and fold into him. It was excruciating to fake a smile at social gatherings, until I finally started telling the truth when friends asked about married life.

"It's terrible," I'd say. "I wouldn't wish this on anyone."