Now that I’ve – for the moment – parked my mother and her health issues back on the shelf marked ‘pending’, I can have a little think about the rest of my week.
It has been rather a wayward week, this. I think I owe about one third of the English-speaking world emails, the floor in the bathroom has developed an alarmingly bendy place under the lino (I think a floor-board needs replacing with some urgency), work is Entering The Thunderdome (New students enter, temp staff leave), H keeps getting nosebleeds and I think he has a low-grade chronic sinus infection, I broke the heel of my nice cute boots AGAIN (I think the cheap wee sods need resoling altogether), the boiler keeps going on the blink when one is in the shower (wakes you up sharpish, that), and so on.
On Wednesday, however, I spent the morning with HFF, Solnushka (surprise bonus, I hadn’t known she’d be there), and extra-surprise bonus our friend Z, who lives hundreds of miles away, which lead to me yelling ‘what the hell are you doing here!’ at the top of my voice across Trafalgar Square, totally ignoring the others, in one of my genius moments of Social Awkward, I Haz It. Anyone’d think I wasn’t pleased to see him. Oy.
So, as we had several small children about us, we spent the morning chatting while they romped, then having coffee and ice-cream, then watching the Changing of the Guard, then letting the smalls romp in Green Park for a while. Well, I say chatting. We did that in relays, as Small Persons Require Supervision, but they are very cute Small Persons, and I worship them. Especially as, not being their Adult-in-Chief, my main tasks were holding tea and minding push-chairs, which don’t answer back or gallop off towards unsuitable bodies of water (ie, I had the really easy job).
Kids are fascinating. And as soon as you get used to them, they change, and fascinate you all over again. And Sol had a brand-new one – babies are extra-fascinating. Beautiful, strange, wonderful, and fascinating.
When I had to say goodbye and go to work (late shift, hence morning free for frolicking), I felt, well, cheated. I’d've so much rathered spent hours more chatting and watching the kids.
Being a grown-up sucks, eh?
Our kids, even. I wanted to spend the day watching our kids. I stomped off towards the bus in a total ‘I hate my life’ rage.
It’s ugly, and bitter, that seeing my friends and having a perfectly nice morning with them should have left me feeling so angry. I’m in such a shitty mental place right now.
Eurydice would have been due in the last week of August, you see. I wish I didn’t remember their due-dates, sometimes. It makes me feel disloyal, thinking that. And stupid, for feeling disloyal. As if it matters at all whether I remember their due dates. I don’t know the dates of the chemical pregnancies, for example, and yet, I still count them as losses, I still wish one of them had lived. Dates are irrelevant. And yet, and yet, I should be sitting at home with stitches and a milk-stained nightie and unwashed hair and arms aching with strain because I daren’t put the newborn down, not for one second, not ever.
And Pikaia would be two-and-a-half. And if I’d had her, would I have ever got pregnant since, would I have even tried to? If she’d lived, I wouldn’t have ever felt so lost. I wouldn’t have known it was possible to feel this lost.
Most days, I don’t think I’ll ever have a child. I think that I’ve had my chances, and they were all duds, poor little sods, and that’s it, I’ll never get pregnant again, or, at least, not with an embryo that knows how to grow a spine. When I have sex with H on ‘fertile’ days of the month, I struggle to suppress a terrible rage, that wants to cry and scream and throw things, because this is pointless, bloody pointless. And yet I also get antsy if we’re not having sex, because, obviously, I am indelibly stained with hope and longing.
This is not a pretty state of mind. Hope isn’t a beautiful, poetic emotion, not for me. It’s like the manacle keeping me chained to the side of the juggernaut of infertility and loss, forcing me to run with it, dragging me when I fall. In fact, I almost hope, when I have the laparoscopy in a couple of months’ time, that they find my fallopian tube blocked solid and my ovary sealed off. So I can say, that’s it. I’m done. We’re stopping. I want my body back before it gets any more damaged. I want my life back, before it’s all spilt and wasted. I want my marriage back, my social life back, my poetry back, my writing back. I want that week every month back. I want me back.
And I know, if they look, and find the least chance I could conceive, then I will go on trying. Because Hope, for me, is not the thing with feathers. It’s the padlock and chain with no key, the steel-jawed man-trap, the bite of the crocodile, obdurate, heartless, intransigent.