Family and Relationships
For eleven weeks I threw up in the late afternoons. I shivered and broke out in sweats, grew bloated and round in the cheeks. My breasts felt tender. My tongue swam in my mouth. I ate grapefruit and soft-boiled eggs, loosened my waistband, fell asleep on the floor under my desk.
The heat isn’t working in the clinic waiting room. A bronze bust of Margaret Sanger, patron saint of birth control, scrutinizes me from a plaster podium, and a slide show, Ways to Show Affection without Intercourse, is projected half on a pull-down screen and half on the cottage-cheese ceiling.
After I graduated from college, I worked as a prep aide at a large hospital. The prep aide was the person who went around each night and shaved patients for their surgery in the morning.
Recently samples of baby products — diapers, formula, wipes — have begun showing up in my mail. Packets of coupons with smiling infants on them arrive in envelopes that say, “Congratulations!” in big red letters.
Facing a flock of cowards wearing sheets, caring for a parent, making a new friend
“Son, will you come downstairs, please.” He has pulled a chair up to the couch in the living room. We never use this room. The Christmas tree is placed in here each year. I would read in here as a child. That’s it. I sit on the couch and sink down. He sits straight up in the chair, his graying black hair combed back. His eyes soften. Like the sails on a boat, they offer a telltale sign of which way the wind is blowing and how strong. This afternoon, in the fading light of day, they tell me he is tired.