Saturday, January 22, 2011
A Week and a World Apart
Two memories just blindsided me, one after the other.
The first, it is Monday, the 19th of May. A lovely, kind woman named Nan is at our house. She works at my school and she's here with a bouquet of bleeding heart and lilac, to sit with us and hear Charlotte's story. That afternoon she will return to school, to the staff meeting, and tell everyone our story. She will spare me from repeating it, over and over again. As of now, all they know is that our baby is a girl named Charlotte, and that she inexplicably died. When Nan meets with them, they will know the tearful glory of our time together, the beauty of her face, hands, and feet, they will feel the softness of final kisses and the love that can't be broken.
As I'm speaking, and Nan is listening with quiet, respectful, loving ears, I suddenly see movement in the backyard. With horror, I realize it's Todd: the man we'd hired to run an electric line from our house to our guest cabin. It had been less than a week and a lifetime ago that he'd told me he'd be by soon with some guys to complete the project. Now, here he was, a thorn in the sanctity of our tiny bubble of a home. I needed him gone.
Thank goodness for Nan, who nearly leapt off the couch and out the door to send him on his way. I remember seeing her, in the backyard, telling him what had happened, and watching his face change. He was a stocky, gruff fellow, a chain smoking, beer drinking, cheap electrician, but even he showed a change in his face when the words obviously hit home, and he knelt and retrieved his tools and walked across the yard with Nan, towards his truck. Nan returned to the house as he and his crew backed away, to return at some unspecified time, later in the summer. Our conversation resumed. I was awash with relief that someone had been there to stave him off.
Then, the second memory, which followed, even though it came before: I am leaning at the kitchen counter, writing a list, perhaps, as I am heading out for the day. I am going to go to Smith to swim, and then to run some errands. Todd is at the door, then, to tell me his plans for the upcoming week, about how he's going to bring some guys by to finish running that line to the guest house. I tell him, sure, no problem, we'll be here.
When are you due? he asked me, a seemingly almost odd question coming from such a type, as if his tough-as-nails, riff-raff type wouldn't notice my 9-months pregnant belly.
Last Monday, I laughed, and it was Monday, the 12th. I said something about how sometime in the next week.
Then I headed out to run my errands, not even knowing it was my last day.
Later that night, she would die.