The 11th anniversary is coming up. I want to be over it now. Time hangs her cobwebs; I've said it before. I am not actively planning my own death anymore. Time, progressing, no stalling out. So I decided to ignore January this year.
My reaction to this month is ridiculous, because I'm an educated, Christian girl. God forgives and my story is old, right? I'm a woman, I'm strong; I can out-think the abortion, right? I can, because it happened 11 years ago, and I'm on the right side. I don't stand for the lies anymore; I am not duped. I know science, I know what life is, I understand chromosomes, I know what humanity is. I stand for truth; I stand for equality, equal protection for all human beings under the law. I've been on both sides; I chose this one, and not because I ever, ever wanted to, but because all the spiffy abortion rhetoric/rationale I gathered and was pumped full of for 25 years fell crashing to the floor in a big, wet, bloody puddle one dead-black January night in 1997.
As my husband would say, "I know the drill." So I'm above it all, right? I'm a post-abortion pro. I'm an expert at the kind of denial it takes to go on as if nothing ever happened. This keeps me clean, unsullied by the sloppiness of the weird, phantom pain of a broken heart in spite of my decade-old "cardiectomy," right? Clean like dried beef that doesn't smell anymore, not because it's not a slice of old, dead cow, but because time and the medicine of air have dehydrated it, neutralizing all its potency. Jerky. I'm jerky. There's no moisture here. And this is how I beat the sting of death served up "Hoover-n-garden hose" style.
I'm on top, and I know it. I'm rejoicing on the summit, because this old death is faded brown roses that never ever really were, right? They never grew beside the house thrusting vibrant fragrance through open windows or clung to sheets that hung drying and flapping on the line nearby.
I don't want you to think I don't know that I'm out of the T-shirt and into the suit. I'm snazzy, sittin' pretty, high above the pain, because I can. I can outrun it, out-think it, because I've faced every ugly part of it, grabbed the bull by its goring horns, and saddled up for the bumpiest ride imaginable.
I'm middle-aged now, and dispassionate about the whole affair. Time has passed. I could care less about my crummy childhood. I don't immediately remember the name of the first boy who broke my heart. My mother's death is tucked in neatly. My father's death is just behind that. The abortion was a dropped cherry on top of my goodbyes to them, and there's the drawer, so be a dear and tuck it in, will you. Put it to bed. Save me the trouble.
Help me to ignore the fact that few short evenings ago I awoke in the night with a vivid image of my child's ruined torso before me. Missing limbs and escaping viscera told their never-ending story. The head, torn and crushed like a deflated balloon, lay elsewhere, rolling toward me like a marble across the floor of my consciousness. I woke "TO the nightmare not FROM it." I panicked like an egg-less hen at the sound of the farmer's heavy boot. I clucked and ran, fumbling in the dark, trying to find footing in some other reality--one where I have risen above it all because "I know the drill." There is none. I am stuck. My three-year-old stirs, utters a tiny kitten's cry for me to follow. I slip back under the covers, slide in beside her, feeling her warmth, hearing her heartbeat through the pillow; mine beats faster, for I have been running for my life again. For my life and for hers.
I am anxious. I am not having panic attacks because those are irrational, and I am rational, so I forbid them. I only allow them when I am pregnant and pumped full of toxic hormones and drugs and fighting for physical survival. And even then, I can tame them with the radio. Now I am looking over my shoulder, seeing shadows on the wall, unseen eyes searching me, a presence. I find my hands trembling, my wrists weak. I chalk it up to the virus I'm getting though I know I'm perfectly healthy and nothing whatever is coming on...nothing except January 30.
But I have outgrown that. That pain is old, and intellectually I know it is over, that reality's gone forever. Spiritually, I believe that was not the end, this is not the end, reunion will come--though I don't know what that will be in a land where husbands and wives are above the institution. I don't cringe about it; I know God knows best. I would cringe but it has been so long, and the answers were so unavailable, such a labyrinth, that my puzzler grew gangrenous and killed all the nerve endings. It's that and my absent heart and my huge, grown-up brain, which collectively tell me that I am above what I know I can't be feeling. So I'm not. As I say, I must be getting sick. I hear people sometimes get the flu in January.
I've outgrown the immaturity of feeling anything. I am stone. My brow is furrowed like a learned old man who is heavily into government affairs, intimate with geography and reads the black and white parts of the Sunday paper for fun. The lines in the back of my hose both run straight up my legs to the base of my spine where they plug me into the sane world of my control top; everything is under control, and I'm on top.
I will not succumb, because I have a degree and I drink coffee and though I don't smoke, if I did, they would be Pall Mall. I listen to well-oiled jazz and read Sartre and poetry and ace medical exams, because I'm "all there." I do everything I can to mature a little more each day, to grow away from that infantile personality who still "misses her baby" and thinks such a "little thing" as abortion killed off not only her child but a huge part of herself and her life forever. So look at my progress:
January affect me? Don't make me laugh!
January is a month for spreadsheets, markets and financial planning. January is a month for battling the heat bill. January is another month, that's all, and I am totally successful in burning dry the moisture attempting to escape from my face. I told you: I've got car keys, and I can buy martinis now without even being carded. I'm on top! January? Send the paperboy packing; the news is old. And while the weight of the world may be tearing down my spine, I've got pills to help me sleep.
I'm OK, I'm on top, master of my universe, in control of my reality, mature, evenly-keeled, centered, grounded, informed, totally in control of my emotions.
And very, very exhausted.
:: ashli 7:01 PM # ::