Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Visitor

She buzzed twice. Of course, she buzzed; she hardly knows me; she wouldn't know the buzzer's broken. Then, she knocked. Hard. I finally answered, wrapped in a bath towel, holding a screaming baby in my arms. I'm a few minutes early, she said, and it was true, just three minutes, but early. I imagined all I could have done in that three minutes.

I handed her the baby and went upstairs to put on clothes. Make yourself at home, I yelled. She's nineteen weeks pregnant. I wanted her to meet the bird, wanted to show her how easy it can all be. On the computer, on a yellow sticky, were notes for an essay I've been working on, an essay on class and money that chronicles the week's news stories and interweaves them with my own life. The news stories were as follows:

Sold daughter for beer
Virginity for 3.7 million
Crashed plane for 4 million

I hadn't realized. She was looking at the sticky when I came down. Eva had settled. I looked at the sticky, laughed. For a story, I said, and she nodded. Some guy in California, I explained. It's not like I'd sell my daughter for beer. I sounded ridiculous, sounded like I was lying, like I was a six-pack away from child slavery. Nor, I said, kissing my daughter on the head, am I a virgin!

Maybe this is what happens when you're tired and trying to write, trying to act like you're still the person you were before your life got totally turned around.

I wanted to bring flowers, the visitor said, and a gift. I'm a wreck, she said. And then, it was out there, and it was good: we were both wrecks, absolute wrecks. So we sat in the kitchen on the cold winter day, and we ate watermelon, and then we danced around with the bird singing You are my sunshine, until finally Eva slept and the visitor said goodbye, and I was left with my computer, trying to make sense of this new world that I have somehow--albeit very sleepily-- woken up in.


Anonymous said...

Love your story!!! Hate the news stories, read them all, pitiful. Sad when you can sell a child for beer, but, your virginity for 3 million, and crash your plane for 4million.

Anonymous said...

You are made of win and awesome and I can't believe how excited I am that you're a mom. I'm hesitating on emailing you because it feels like ten million years and I miss seeing your face over coffee even though we knew each other so briefly.



Limonada said...

I love this. Lucky Wrecks, I'd say. How wonderful. When do I see you next?