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March 04, 2009 - Image 12

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2009-03-04

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Wednesday. March z4 2009 The Michigan Daily

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Iremember being pregnant:the first sharp pain
in my stomach, and then the vomit. I remember
the tip of the pee stick, positive and pink. Most
of all, I remember being alone, living still in the
apartment I rented and driving my first car and
sometimes eating cereal for all three meals. But
withthatpaincameinstinct.Iwantedthattragedy
in my life - the sores of single-motherhood - and.
I wanted it to be secret not out of shame but out
of the fulfillment of the way I'd always thought of
myself as a loner, different, struggling through.
something to prove I could. So I bought the pre-
natal vitamins, told a few people, but only as
few as I could. I poured the liquor in my freezer
down the drain and turned my nose at the deep
smell. The glass bottles satin the recycling bin for
weeks, glowing a little like moonlight gone bad
and shivering when the cat brushed past. I would
have emptied them, but the dumpster outside
was iced in by a bank of snow, and I didn't want
to fall.
The man I'd been with was a neighbor, and
he'd since moved. He'd taken me to dinner once
- Indian food - and he'd walked through the
parking lot with an ice cream cone from the place
down the street a few times, stepping right in
through the open sliding screen door, with cream
dripping between his thumb and forefinger. He'd
licked it off before handing the cone to me. He'd
smiled.
When I found outI was pregnant, he still lived

in the building - I even looked out of the window
to see him loading things into a U-Haul. He
waved, and I waved back.
I remember being pregnant in the winter, the
fear of slipping and not being found, trash piling
in the corner because of it, making a corner of my
apartment smell of old juice. I pulled my shirts
down over the small swell, growing each week,
and I feared people with colds. I'd nearly told my
neighbor, when he'd stopped in all sweaty from
lugging furniture, but hadn't. I'd told myself I
wasn't even sure if I'd keep it, although I knew I
would. I was a little afraid of him, too - he was a
bouncer at the.club, and I'd never dated anyone
like him. I became wary of more things, more
people.
But it wasn't because of him, or ice, or illness. I
was at home, boiling water for pasta when I lost
the baby. I doubled over the steam, sobbing, until
the woman above me heard and came right in.
The cat howled as I did, circling with his mouth
wide open.
My mother was openly relieved. She said it was
God's will, and smiled at Him out of the hospital
window as she said it.
Five months later, I vacuumed the floor for the
first time in ages. Cat hair and dirt from spring
had covered the carpet, and it was summer
now, near when my due date would have been - a
summer baby, healthy, given those three months
of sun to grow and get fat before winter. I'd been

given time off from work, as though I hadn't
miscarried, which almost made it worse. My
doctor gave me a prescription, which I took too
much of. Still, this was a good sign, the vacuuming,-
the best thing I'd done in months. I had started to'w
listen to mymother a little - I didn't make enough,
I wasn't home enough, I wasn't smart enough to
remember to keep syrup of ipecac in the house.
Still, though, I'd wanted it.
The vacuum caught the strings; the landlord w
only put new carpet in every time a different
tenant arrives, and I had lived here for years. I
let the vacuum grumble a little, and suddenly, in
anger, wanted to tear the floor out, pull it out by
its teeth. The vacuum began to smoke - I could
smell it but couldn't see it - a dull electrical singe,
hardly enough to burn this place down.-
When another sob joined my own, I looked up
and my sadness was replaced by joy.
My mother tells me I've gone mad. When she
hears my baby cry over the phone, she thinks I'm
making the sound or that I've stolen the child
from someone. My mother says she's called police
stations, and even though no one in the area
reports a missing child and the Amber Alert stays
quiet under the green god of rain on the Weather
Channel, my mother says she is coming over.
I tell her not to. I say I'T refuse to open the door.
This is my child, born of my flaked skin, my dust,
my messy past, born safely into the womb of my
home.

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Written by Megan Cummins I LSA senior Illustration by Laura Garavoglia

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