Friday 11th June 2010
Gestation: 37 weeks, 1 day
One year ago.
I hear the back door open, but then silence. I continue typing away for another minute, waiting for Suse to come in.
“Is that you, hon?” I shout out.
“Yes,” she says. I get up from my desk, and walk out of the office. The house is cold and dark, winter’s night having closed in quickly. There on the couch sits Suse, her shoulders still slumped. She stares at the unlit television screen.
“Are you all right?” I ask.
“No,” she says, her face screwing up. I sit. “I thought I was doing okay,” she says, breaking into tears. She burrows herself into my shoulder. Her head bobs up and down against my arm. Her sobs multiply, and multiply, a release of feelings, a torrent of emotion. I take her deeper into my arms, cradling her as I do.
“I thought I was doing good,” she manages, gasping out the words between breaths. “I really thought I was doing well. Until this today,” she says. She bursts once more, tears spilling over. “I’m on edge, Mark. I was so good this morning, and then, now…” she trails off once again. “I just can’t take anything more right now. I just can’t have anything else get in the way of…” She falls even further into my shoulder.
I feel my anxiety building, that thing that happens anytime I see Suse cry. I want to fix it, to change it, to stop it from happening. I notice this thing, welling up, threatening to break over in me as anger, or resentment, or a diversion tactic. Anything to deflect from feeling. Anything to stop from having to witness her in pain.
But I don’t. I notice it, and I feel it well up. And I let it go.
And I hold her.
I hold my wife, and stroke her hair. She sobs, and sobs, and I hold her, and I stroke her hair.
“Nothing’s changed, honey,” I say. “Nothing’s changed. We’re going to be okay.”
“I’m just so scared of anything else happening,” she says. I look at her, and see the fear in her eyes.
“I know,” I say. “I see you, honey. I see you. I understand.”
“I can’t have anything else happen, Mark. I just can’t.”
I stroke her hair again, damp from the sweat of the shakes from the tears. I run my fingers through it. “It’s going to be okay. We’re going to be okay.”
“I want to burn another candle,” she manages to say.
“We can do that,” I say. “We can do that. We can do whatever you want. Now let’s run you a bath.”
* * * * *
Suse lies in the bath, still. She floats her hands at her sides, washing the water up over herself, like a kid welling water over sand. I sit on a chair, my laptop on my knees. And I read. I read out diary entries from this story.
I read her the entry I wrote about visiting Dr. Fleischer. I read her the entry about the ringing the sperm lab. I read the story about the psychic. And I even read her the story about misfiring on withdrawal.
Each story I tell, I get some of my wife back. Each tale I tell, a bit more of her returns.
“You’ve never let me read it till now,” she says finally.
“Well, it wasn’t ready yet,” I say. “Or I didn’t think it was ready.” I stop for a second. “But now was the time for you to hear it.”
“It’s a really good story,” she says finally.
“It’s healing,” I say. “It’s my therapy.”
“I want to read it. All of it.”
“No,” she says deliberately, “I want to know what happens.”
* * * * *
We sit in front of the TV. Suse sits there, calm and still; yet clearly drained. In through the wringer, and out the other side.
An emotionally flat pancake.
I take my hands, and I scoop one under her right shoulder from behind. I put one on the front of it.
And for what it’s worth, I treat it.
I sit there, with one hand at its front, and one at it’s back, feeling it. And I suction it. In exactly the way that the psychic had told me on my birthday, I treat it.
‘You’re a sensitive,’ she had said, ‘and you can heal Susan.’
‘How?’ I’d asked.
‘Imagine the layers of the body, and imagine going through them, and pulling out the blackness.’
So I do.
I feel stupid, and self-conscious, and kind of weird. But I do. I imagine her shoulder, I imagine the tendinopathy, and I imagine it healing. I feel a gradual stickiness in my hands, as I do, after a time, and then I flick it away.
And I do the same thing over her fallopian tubes. I imagine the blocked right tube, and I imagine it unblocking. I imagine the tortuous left one, and I imagine it tightening up. Again, after a time, I feel a stickiness in my hands, and I flick it away.
We sit again, watching TV.
Neither of us says anything.
There’s no need.
* * * * *