Make You Feel Free
We came back from the beach right into fall. It’s both so hush and alive here in the mountains right now with twinges of color, and electricity of things turning, and leavening. I got pregnant almost exactly 3 years ago. For some reason, I can still taste that month, which is like this month so vividly, flush with color, like pop rocks in your mouth. I sat outside in the pasture on my husband’s old Mercedes and the sky was everything, and all the secrets were in there.
There was this current around about having to let things go so other things could come forth, a lesson that seems to keep repeating itself for me, but that I still resist when it does. Something gets lost, other things revealed. There was the job that summer that I’d lost, that I knew wasn’t right for me anymore, but I wanted to hang onto. There was our cat that had been missing for a month, that did come back a little ragged but quite well, but not after we’d thought he was dead for weeks. There was a person I felt close to but I couldn’t be any closer to that felt like something carved out of myself, something left hanging on the vine.
And I still wasn’t pregnant. It had been almost 2 years since we started trying. Two years, which felt like a lifetime of periods that I got and didn’t want. (Why is it that we want our periods so much for like twenty years, praying each month fiercely for them, and then when we want a baby all we do is hate them?)
Then my car broke down. Doesn’t it always go that way? You’re driving back from a mountain town on the clearest day yet of the year, with the windows cracked and everything starting to be all right again. It was the transmission. Of course it was. It was the car I learned to drive stick shift on, the car one of my best friends had sold me, that I really loved. I cried all afternoon about it with the orange tinted leaves sparkling around me in the after school playground where I worked, and felt my heart break just a little more.
I put the car on Craigslist and someone named Marco picked it up, said he could get it back up and running. “I’m having a baby in a couple weeks,” he told me, and he was so young and really cute with jet black hair and deep brown eyes. He sounded so happy. “It’s a girl.” I felt a twinge of jealousy: of course, even the stranger buying my car was having a baby. I asked him if he really wanted to buy this car that wasn’t even running, because he was having this baby and all? He was totally confident he could bring it back from the dead. "Ok," I said, "good luck with everything." I watched him tow it out of my driveway and into some other place he was going. I waved goodbye.
I don’t know what I did then: made tea, got dressed for work, walked the dog. I do remember starting to feel vaguely peculiar, which for me is often enough anyway, but a type of peculiar that was a little different. Like everything felt lower to the ground, a heaviness like a sun I was carrying around. Like I wanted to lay down and never get up, like I wanted to crawl deep into the Earth. The days got shorter. They glittered so clear and the nights enveloped us.
Then I remember going out dancing all night, feeling effervescent for the first time in awhile. I remember wearing tight black jeans and cowboy boots, and wondering if I wanted to be pregnant at all. Babies, babies, it seemed everyone was having babies and I was the only one who would never have one. But maybe that was OK. Maybe I didn’t actually want a baby. If I was pregnant I wouldn’t fit into those tight black jeans, and I wouldn't be dancing all night. Life was complicated enough as it was. Adulting was rigorous. I didn’t want to have to work any harder. I wanted to feel free.
I bought another car, a Honda, that I didn’t even like that much, but I didn’t feel like dealing with cars at the moment. It was cheap, and later when I had the baby it would also break down, but at the time I still figured I might never get pregnant, never care what kind of car I drove as long as it ran, that there would be a million others cars and then someone named Marco coming to tow it away. I listened to Sylvan Esso and drank coffee and wore cowboy boots. I drove around alone and alive. I decided to see an acupuncturist who was leaving town, because my mom had given me a gift certificate almost a year before that I hadn’t used, because I don’t really know why, but now she was leaving and I so I went.
“I think I want to get pregnant, but I don’t really know…” I told her, in her office, which smelled like herbs and light and barks and bitter. “I mean I do, but it’s like part of me wants to and part of me doesn’t.” She listened to my pulses with intensity, and looked at my tongue.
“Ah,” she said “You have the tongue of a healer. Of someone sensitive. What do you want to do?” I don’t know, I told her. I just want to be free. I just want to be me.
We talked for awhile. She said something about have different colliding forces going on in my body, and I was interested though not sure what she was talking about really. I decided it didn’t really matter: sometimes we don’t need to know what is happening for it to happen.
She put needles in me and did some energy work. I was into it, I liked her vibe — chill but intense— but I didn’t feel attached to anything. I think she did some chanting but I was half-asleep When I awoke she was smiling and we gave each other a knowing look. She was moving to California or Hawaii soon, so I knew I might not see her again. She gave me some essential oils to put on my body on some acupressure points for the week. When I left her office it was raining so many colors and it all felt right again, even in this car that I’d bought that I didn’t really like, but that was good enough for now.
A little while later, I missed my period, and I shrugged, knowing it would come, but also knowing it wasn’t going to come. I couldn’t actually remember when the last time I’d gotten it anyway, and I was relieved to not care that much, at least for now. I was relieved that I didn’t need to know it was happening for it to still be happening.
Another week passed. Daylight savings. We were all slipping into darkness. On Halloween I went out trick-or-treating with my friends and their kids, and we drank tea laced with whiskey. It rained again and a lot, so I went home. It was cold. I felt vaguely nauseous but I figured it was the candy, the whiskey, the weather. I would worry later about that whiskey-tea, but figured we’d all be goners anyway if it all hinged on that, and when she was born the next June she was more perfect than I could have imagined. But first it snowed that weekend, on the first of November, and it covered the leaves, and the stars, and we stayed inside. We watched the leaves come down. It was so white and gray, finally, muted and safe. I knew we didn't have all the time in world anymore, but it almost felt like we did.