A girl leaves a house of hell...
a place where she used to lie awake at night, wishing he would just go ahead and kill her because she was just too tired to do it herself. She's too tired to even care, until the pain comes--and it will come. He'll come home with the madness in his eyes, the cruelty in his words and his touch, the blows that will rain down on her.
Convincing him that she can't go to work like this, she leaves the house with a gaping wound in her back, $5 (for make-up~cover it up~make it go away~make it go away) and a new will to live after making through another night with him. She goes to the store, walks bloody through the other patrons and buys a plain t-shirt, a bar of soap, a roll of duct tape and an icee.
Four dollars and eighty seven cents...
not enough left for a phone call. She could have done without the icee but damn, it feels good on her swollen lips.
Then to the bathroom of the store. It's filthy and has the acrid smell of stale urine. No matter.
She turns on the hot water.
She takes off the ripped, bloodstained shirt that she hasn't changed since work the night before and stands there in a bra and jeans, looking in the mirror. She's covered, to the waist of her jeans, in bruises in various stages of healing. She laughs, thinking for some reason of crayons and all the ridiculous colors she represents...
red violet, violet red, purple, brick
stop it stop it stop it stop it stop it
The water, even though it's been running for quite a bit of time, is no warmer than tepid. She sighs and leans over the sink with the new bar of soap, cleaning her face and winces as the soap stings the newly opened areas. After rinsing the dried blood out of her hair, she throws away the soap and gingerly pulls the t-shirt over her head, in case someone else should decide to come in.
Her back she cleans with just a bit of warm water, since the blood is finally beginning to clot. Pulling a five inch piece of duct tape free from the roll, she holds the shirt up by her teeth and twists around so she can see clearly in the mirror the wound to her back. She applies the duct tape and satisfied that it won't bleed through, throws the rest of the roll away.
One more drink of the icee and it, too, is tossed in the trash.
Ten minutes later, she is knocking on a window. Her brother looks out and she sees his lips form the words 'What the fuck?'
"I can't go back. Let me in."
She walks into the house and cries...
asks him to sit with her until she falls asleep. The last thing she remembers before sleep comes is a tear on her cheek. Her brother is crying down on her.
Months later, the past distant but not forgotten, living a new life...
One night at work, eight months into this new life, she falls and is taken to the hospital. There, the nurse asks her to verify her last menstrual period, explaining that xrays can potentially harm a fetus.
Now, it's her turn to explain--she hasn't had a period in over a year.
"No problem. We'll just do a pregnancy test."
So she waits...
Then whispers, then a circle of people around her, all talking at once and then all at once silent. The doctor motions for them to leave and as the last one exits the room, he takes off his glasses.
"You are", he said, "pregnant."
Her heart felt like it would beat out of her chest.
She hadn't gained any significant weight, had experienced none of the tell-tale signs of pregnancy and so felt that the ultrasound the doctor had suggested would reveal a pregnancy in its earliest stages.
"You're eight and a half months pregnant."
His face faded, his voice slowed to an indecipherable drone...
she had fainted.
Opening her eyes, she saw the same doctor and two of the people who had encircled her before.
The doctor had started speaking again, but she was unable to hear him over the ringing in her ears, so she just nodded whenever she saw him pause.
That weekend--the Gladney office...
preparations made a list of must-haves and may-not-haves
situations explained "the hospital has the most lovely French Provencial furniture" "just ask for so and so when you get there. she'll help you with everything"
legalities simplified overly so
Eight days later--the Gladney Center.
Forced into bedrest with preeclampsia, with a blood pressure of 152/98, she wanted to run through the night screaming, but couldn't move without seeing the room spin and feeling like she was going to pass out. So, on her left side she rested looking at the same wall in the same room for the next three weeks.
The rains fall...
Weeks since the last rain, she's told, so she rolls over and watches the lightning streak across the sky and lets the sound of the rain lull her to sleep.
Then with a new pain, she is taken to the hospital and at 5 centimeters dilation, she is given an epidural. She laughs bitterly when they say that it will ease her pain and wonders what they can give her to lessen the weight of the lead that is her heart.
With sweat, blood and the incessant beeping of some machine, she pushes and cries and on hearing another cry, she collapses. It has been eighteen hours since her labor began. She looks at the baby on her chest and is racked with sobs.
lightning crashes, a new mother cries
her placenta falls to the floor
The doctor explains that she will need more than 20 but less than 50 stitches to repair damage done by the baby's shoulders and that she will be confined to bed and wheelchair for the next few days.
"Let me see her."
"Just wait", she's told.
"No. Please. I need to."
She holds the child and rubs the back of her fingers against the lashes curled onto the cheeks of the baby already asleep. Startled, though, she awakens and blinks rapidly but doesn't cry. Her eyes are so very blue.
the angel opens her eyes
"I didn't see morphine listed as an allergy", he says.
"You're going to need this."
And with that, he leaves the room and returns with a syringe.
Voices slow, lights dim and her eyelids seem so incredibly heavy and her tongue too thick to speak.
She remembers a time once before when she needed sleep like this and she closes her eyes. She feels a tear on her cheek, like last time, but unlike last time, the tear is her own.
She looks up at the rain sliding down the window, like wax dripping down a candle and she can feel the thunder in her chest.
the confusion sets in
before the doctor can even close the door
She feels the tear travel down her cheek, then her neck and she's asleep before it hits the pillow. She feels nothing except for the fuzzy black sleep that has come for her.
lightning crashes, an old mother dies
her intentions fall to the floor
the angel closes her eyes
the confusion that was hers
belongs now to the baby down the hall
She knows that this hall is for the 'Gladney girls'.
She knows that behind at least one of the closed doors, someone is crying tears of sadness, loss or regret.
She knows that behind these doors are people kissing part of themselves goodbye or wishing they could.
oh, now feel it coming back again
like a rollin' thunder chasing the wind
forces pullin' from the center of the earth again
i can feel it
Awake, she has someone bring the child again, but insists on bringing her back to the nursery herself. She notices that there is, indeed, French Provencial furniture throughout the hospital and shakes her head. She sees babies in incubators with cards reading only 'baby girl' or 'baby boy'...
Biting her lip, she lays her own baby girl down and once back in her room, thanks the nurse for helping her back to bed. Once the door closes, the tears come and she cries herself to sleep.
lightning crashes, a new mother cries
this moment she's been waiting for
Two days have passed and she's back at 'the center'. She's given stack upon stack of papers to sign.
'Words,' she tells herself, 'They're just words--you know what they mean so don't think about what they say.'
She signs her name once, twice, dozens of times and feels like each stroke of the pen is a black mark on her soul. She wonders how many cracks her heart can sustain before it breaks. The paperwork is finally complete.
"I need to see her again. Alone."
She picks up the sleeping babe, who immediately awakens.
the angel opens her eyes
pale blue colored iris presents the circle
and puts the glory out to hide, hide...
It's been two days and her eyes are still blue.
She whispers "please find me one day" and then tries to etch into her heart and her mind this small soul's face, eyes, ears, hair, scent. Her heart is broken and she kisses her baby girl goodbye.
The first birthday was like a knife in her heart, with each one to follow, a twist of the blade.
She felt the wound freshly opened on March 2nd.
Somewhere a child blew out another candle on her cake.
~lyrics for Lightning Crashes by Live from Throwing Copper~
and every year i add a candle