Dropped Threads 3: Beyond The Small Circle.
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Later that day, while a long silver needle plunges into my uterus to sample my amniotic fluid, Wayne holds my feet and I try not to jerk as the pierced muscles go into spasm. The doctor performing the procedure is holding an ultrasound wand steady against my belly, enabling us to see the baby’s echo once again. Our child is curled up like a hibernating mole in a corner of my womb. CHRISTMAS 2002 The two-week waiting period for the amniocentesis results coincides with the Christmas holiday. After some debate, we decide to spend it with Wayne’s family in the Okanagan.
Sarah arrived, a beautiful blonde dripping with diamonds. There were cupids on her pants! We were misfits, one and all. No matter what our income or its source, each of use was a family disgrace because we drank. These women told their stories, one by one. We laughed. I had no idea recovery could be funny. Alone in my wooded prison, I felt encouraged by the remembrances of them. • • • There is a conspiracy of silence around women who drink. Like the mystery woman in Morris, we are kept hidden away. People whisper about us behind our backs but don’t confront us face to face.
See her face a horrid mixture of shock and ecstasy as you open the door and watch Mr. Smith climb off her. Watch her slap you, but do not feel it. You are no longer that seven-year-old girl. STEP 4: REMEMBER BROKEN BLOOD VESSELS Now you are thirteen. You are washing dinner dishes in the aftermath of an argument your mother has had with her new husband. She sits at the table, head down, with a butcher knife in one hand aimed at her bare wrist. She is crying and talking to a dead relative. You have seen this before and wish now that she had completed her treatment at the nuthouse—as she called it—instead of kidnapping you from your father four years earlier.
COUNTERBALANCE As the program draws to a close, my spirits falter. Familiar sentiments nag me: dancing this much is self-indulgent. I must hold myself in reserve for more important, serious things in the Real World. I must earn a living, advance in a profession, save for retirement. My shoulders slump as I enter the studio. In class, we pitch in contraction over a bent front leg, the back leg in attitude. The move feels reckless and abandoned, but safely held by the tight abdomen. It yokes those two opposing human impulses: to risk and to be secure.
Claim the part of the day when you are fresh. You’ll teach your family self-sufficiency, inspire your friends. Sleep better, too, knowing you spent that time. My friend Joan unplugs her phone. I used to mark half-day appointments with myself. Told people they were for dental surgery. She stands up. Can you hear anything? Is that the cat? Where was I? Oh, yes—choose good travelling companions, she says. Read. Make phone calls. Have tea, like we are. Get the backstories and horror stories. Don’t spread the negative; just make a note of it; there could be trolls under the bridge.