02 June 2008

Untitled, Part 5

"My meds are changing. I only got two pills today. Yesterday, I got three."
"Yes, they are. It's time to explore the inner feelings surrounding your break."
"Don't I get a say in this?"
"No, I'm sorry. You're not here voluntarily, you have little say in what the doctors do."
"Sounds peachy. What can I expect?"
"You'll be able to emote. You're going to have to start feeling again, Andrea."
"I don't want to do that."
"Why not?"
"Because that's what got me here, isn't it? Can I go back to my room now? I'm tired."
"No, Andrea. We need to talk. What do you want to talk about today?"
"I don't know."
"How about your mom's reaction?"
"No, definitely not."
"Well, then let's talk about who knew first in your family."
"Fine. It was my big sister. I knew she'd be there to pick me up from the airport and that she'd understand. At least I hoped so."

I called my sister to give her my flight information. She was the only one who could pick me up the next afternoon, and I decided she needed to know what to expect when she arrived at the airport.

"Alyssa, I think I need to tell you something."

"What's up, Andy? Still nervous about flying?"

"Not so much, Lyss. It's--well, it's complicated." Alyssa could sense the change in my voice, the utter seriousness of my tone. I really missed my big sister. I hoped she wouldn't hate me for not telling her sooner.

"Andrea, what's wrong? Are you sick?"

"No, Alyssa. I'm pregnant." There was that word again, filling the void like a helium balloon. I had only been able to say that to my boss and my doctor, and I felt a huge knot unfurl at the base of my neck. I didn't realize how afraid I was of saying it out loud, as though it would make it somehow more real.

"Oh, honey, why didn't you call me?" The love and concern in her voice chipped a small sunny spot in my heavy heart, and I felt like I could breathe for the first time in six months. "Do mom and dad know?"

"Nobody at home knows, not even...Devon." I had difficulty saying his name, the consonants foreign and weighty on my tongue. It sounded halting and disjointed to my ears, and I wondered if Alyssa would make the connection.

"Devon? Why would you not tell...oh, honey. It's Devon's, isn't it?"

"Yes, they are."

"They? You mean, there's more than one?"

"A boy and a girl, due February. I'm six months along, Lyss." I was crying again, which seemed to be one of my two habitual states: crying and almost crying. My breath hitched as I swallowed, and Alyssa's soothing soprano came through the phone, making the tears flow faster.

"It'll be okay, little sis. Mom will be thrilled, and so will Dad, I know it. What do you need from me?"

"Make sure Devon and Heidi don't know I'm home, Lyss. I don't intend on telling him."

"Are you crazy? Why not? Don't you think he should know?"

"Do you think I haven't thought about that? No, he doesn't need to know. I am staying in Chicago, and I'm going to raise them on my own."

Alyssa sighed. I could almost see her shaking her head, hand on her hip, ear pressed to the phone resting on her shoulder. I heard the same sigh of irritation when she thought I was being a complete ass.

"Andy, you don't have to spare his feelings any longer. You don't have to go along with his schemes and bear the brunt of the responsibility any more--you're not his keeper. I thought you would outgrow that."

"And break up his marriage? I couldn't live with that on my conscience, and you know that! Besides, I am not blameless in this either."

"Making yourself a martyr to protect his marriage isn't fair to you or to your babies! God, you're still so naive. Listen, I'll pick you up tomorrow, and we'll get some lunch, talk this over, okay?"

"You mean you'll try to bully me into changing my mind?"

"If I have to."

"Fine, then you're paying. I'll see you tomorrow."

"I love you, no matter what. I'll see you tomorrow." The line went dead. I swiped half-heartedly at my wet cheeks and hung up the phone.

I waddled into the adjoining bedroom. I had begun preparing for the babies already--two dark wood cribs stood empty and unmade in either corner of the room. A small matching changing table sat between them, drawers empty. I had even bought a large area rug in greens and pinks to fill the space between, but could not bring myself to open and wash the small crib sheets and baby bedding I had bought last week. I couldn't face it; it was one of the three things that meant my decision was final, and I was afraid of what that meant.

It was a small victory for me. I managed to avoid crying for almost two hours while wandering Pottery Barn Kids, picking out pink dots and stripes for my baby girl, and green gingham and solids for the active little guy occupying my womb. I even began listening to the other mothers in the store to find out what they were calling their kids and perusing the names in the collections, trying each one out in my mouth like a candy. I even considered family names, but contemplating my mom's name as a middle name brought me dangerously close to the last two things I was dreading, too final.

Tears threatening to overcome again, I took a deep breath and decisively opened the bag closest to me. "They're not getting any cleaner in here," I said under my breath. Someone kicked me in affirmation, and I tore open the packages of the gingham and dots, making piles to wash. It wasn't until the tears fell onto a solid pink bedskirt that I realized I had been humming a lullaby, crying the whole while.

By the time I went to bed, the cribs were made, the changing table was full, and I had made a list of what I still needed to get. I collapsed into bed and into oblivion, only half-conscious of the soccer game going on in my midsection. "One down, two more to go," I whispered as I drifted off, too tired to dread the morning.

"Tomorrow, I want to discuss your relationship with Devon."
"Didn't we already do that?"
"No, your long-term one. Your sister made some interesting comments to you."
"How many pills will I get tomorrow?"
"Just one."
"This sucks. I hate this."
"That means that you're already starting to feel. That's a good sign; it means we can begin to make you well."
"Whatever. I'm hungry. Can I go now?"
"I'll see you tomorrow."


Kimberly said...

Love, love, loved this. The smooth introduction of just what situation she's in...shifts the perspective of the story into a more intense setting. Nicely done...I'm even more captivated now.

More please?

Bee Repartee said...

You are amazing! Yes, yes, what Kimberly said...

Jo Beaufoix said...

What Kim and Bee said, hee hee. I love this. I'm so worried for her though. I want to know what happened, but I don't want to know in a way too as I bet it's not nice.

I do want to know mostly though. :D