Morning: Me, on the couch. Rob and I studied together there, my head in his lap. I cried. Rob did what he could to comfort me–offered kind words and wrapped me up in a true 70s palette tied and appliquéd quilt my mother made years ago. He brought me a hot mug of rice milk and Pero which I forgetfully left on the floor, so it got cold while I rested. I wrote in my study journal, snuffled a bit, and went to sleep. Ladybug emerged from her Gram-cave at her usual hour, just past 9:00am, and energetically woke me up to ask me if I was sick and to lay into me for not getting enough rest. After that irony and some other items of fussing business, she left me alone again to do my job–rest, already!–and drink my cold Pero milk.
Mid-day: I stood in the bathroom, brushing my teeth, counting down the minutes left (under ten, finally) until I could leave the house and go with Rob to drive Bryce to the airport so he could catch his plane to England. Rob appeared behind me in the mirror and told me Bryce’s dad had volunteered to drive him. “I’m disappointed,” I said foamily. Rob had no idea. Since the ironic couch time my heart had been leaping at the thought of an escape–but even more than an escape–a big city lunch, Middle Eastern or maybe Indian, a quick trip to the my favorite local yarn shop, and time to hang out with Rob once Bryce was delivered to his flight. Rob had no idea.
Lunch: Thoughtful Rob suggested we slip away for lunch anyhow. While I waited for him to reach a stopping point in his work, I fielded a call from Dr. S.’s office. Her nurse talked with me about tests and such, and while conversing with her, I decided for sure that I would cancel my appointment with Dr. L. All along, even when I was still pregnant, there was something about the thought of going this doctor that made me uneasy. I really felt hesitant when the first thing Dr. L.’s nurse talked to me about–over the phone, the day I began to bleed, even before we knew for certain I was losing the baby–was coming in for a D&C. That turned me off at once. That’s not Plan A in my book, nor is it Plan B; it’s the last resort. So I decided, and have no doubts about the decision, that I will do whatever I may need to do with Dr. S. I cancelled the appointment with Dr. L., and soon after, Rob was ready to go. We buffeted at Red Lantern. I began to comprehend that my depression wasn’t lifting, in spite of the pleasant company and not having to cook. Even wasabi and pickled ginger didn’t dislodge the growing heaviness. Even Rob’s company didn’t. The beautiful orange wedge I ate last brightened me with surprise, but it was a short-lived thrill. How did our fortunes read this time? Rob’s cookie said, “You may attend a party where strange customs prevail.” I remarked that at all of the parties we go to strange customs prevail. Rob agreed and suggested that maybe the fortune was merely giving him permission to go. My cookie said, “Nature, time and patience are the three great physicians.” And naturally, I started to cry again.
Afternoon: Rob drove me to the hospital where I dully checked in at the lab, answered questions, signed my name, and politely said, “Thank you. Thank you. Oh, yes, please, I would like a copy. Thank you.” I read the form which authorized my quantitative blood test–how many of these have I had?–and in the bottom left corner of the page, in big letters, was written, MISCARRIAGE. I felt uncomfortable holding it, tried to spontaneously evaporate the tears that were collecting in my eyes, and fidgeted. My name was called. While Rob waited in the lobby, I went down the familiar hall to the blood-sucking room and a girl who wouldn’t speak to me stuck a needle in my arm in such a way that I had to look and see for myself that it wasn’t stabbed all the way through to the other side. I could barely get out of the claustrophobic phlebotomy cave before I was really crying. I rushed out of the hospital holding onto Rob’s arm. He tried to notice mild funny things around us and call my attention to them on the way out.
Moments later: Rob asked me if I’d like to go with him to do some errands. Oh, yes, if it means I can be with you and not have to go home now. Yes. A building supply store? Sounds wonderful–I’ll wait in the car and listen to the radio. There are times when station-hopping is a desirable pastime.
And the train conductor says,
“Take a break, Driver 8,
Driver 8, take a break.
We can reach our destination,
But we’re still a ways away”
I eventually settled on a community radio station that was playing a lot of odd stuff like I used to listen to back when I cared. I sat in the car with my feet on the dashboard, and ruminated on how my legs could go brown from mid-calf down if I sat there long enough. And I sat a long time, but it felt nothing like waiting. What’s this song then? Somebody obviously likes Brian Eno . . . and Robert Smith . . . and David Byrne . . . and that somebody should have tried writing more than one verse for this droning song. I can’t describe the feeling of flatness that overtook me. But it wasn't the music's fault.
When Rob finally returned, empty-handed: He wanted to go to another lumber place. He was in a hurry to get back to work. I was on empty. Partway home, he suggested we go and buy hanging petunias that we’ve been talking about putting in front of the kitchen window, for the hummingbirds. He turned around and headed north again, to our favorite nursery. It was hard for me to think clearly enough to choose, but it was a pleasure to walk through the rooms full of so many colors and shapes. Can you see how Rob got more than one gold star today? We managed to choose one pot of petunias after walking in circles a few times; it was full of magenta blossoms. I apologized for taking so long, and Rob replied that he was happy to be there because I was taking an interest in something. That startled me. Then I said no to an $8 package of ladybugs and we went home.
Late afternoon: Gram was not happy at home. I took her with me to our garden-on-loan to sit in the shade of the grape arbor while I planted beans. I thought it might lift her spirits. While I put Romano seeds into the ground, a very light, pretty rain began to fall though the sun was cheerfully out, and I couldn’t see one trace of a dark cloud. There wasn’t enough rain to get us any sort of wet, but Gram grumbled. After we got home, I asked her to help me pull out some hens-and-chicks starts for our neighbor, Crucella. She showed more enthusiasm for that project; I let her boss me, and that seemed to improve her mood.
Evening: We all skipped dinner–rather, Rob and I skipped dinner and Gram skipped "supper". Come to think of it, Gram skipped her “dinner” today too, choosing to gorge on ice cream and strawberries instead of buckling down with something sandwichy. We had Family Home Evening. I realized that a situation which gives Gram air time for rehearsing her stories is one of the few kinds of situations which please her. Okay, I already knew that, but it hit me with a fresh emphasis. Gram wants to talk and craves rapt, assenting, even submissive attention. Talk is about all she’s got left that she is always willing and able to do. It was Rob's week to be in charge of FHE, so after we did a little reading aloud together, Rob took us on a field trip to the library, in spite of Gram’s inertia-laden protests. He introduced her to the westerns section of the video collection and she picked up six, though she refused to consider getting her own library card. I signed up for the adult summer reading program and came home with knit and crochet books to look through, plus three I might actually read, just for fun and interest–Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation; For She is the Tree of Life: Grandmothers through the Eyes of Women Writers; and Story: Substance, Structure, Style, and the Principles of Screenwriting. Why is guilt an obstacle when I’m choosing books these days? I’ve gotten out of the habit of indulging in a good recreational read. Must fix that.
Night: Rob had to work in the studio tonight to make up for time he spent with me today. I stayed in the house and listened to a rebroadcast of a wonderful radio program about pianist Eileen Joyce. A recording of her playing some lyric pieces by Grieg was fantastically gorgeous. I’d love to get a copy for our own library. As I soaked her music in, I started knitting myself a summer triangle scarf.
It's surprising, but even hard days go by fast anymore; my life speeds away. But I can console myself that the passage of time, as my cookie of the day kindly reported, is a reliable healer.