29 August 2005

(Red Journal Excerpt 2 - "For Whom The Bell Tolls")

"And therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."
- John Donne, Meditation xvii

[Omitted] gave me her book to read, specifically the loving kindness meditation that contained the above quote. I find it bitterly ironicthat one would start a passage about loving kindness with death, but I suppose death is the one remaining thing between her and me that keeps us together in this moment. It is death itself- the killing of what we created together out of ecstatic carelessness- that has gotten me thinking about life with her, and how she claims I've forgotten all the good we had; truthfully, I didn't. It's just so punctuated with bad that I hold this confused nostalgia for the last nine months we shared, and in that way, she is right in her flip comment, "you are a confused young man." Maybe the nine months of our relationship was the real gestation period, and she herself was pregnant with death: the death of what we created, and the death of what became of it, which is quite literally what we're killing this morning.

The waiting room is tense. I am surrounded by sleeping, reading, or spaced-out boyfriends as their girlfriends wait to be moved to a different room. A fat, black woman comes in to announce the girls' names, and each gets up and enters through the swinging door almost nonchalantly. I wonder how many of them have done this before- how many of the girls and the guys. Had the girls had an abortion with someone else, or had the guys sat in a waiting room like this one before, looking for a different face to walk through ready to be taken home? One couple to my left is holding hands and looking sad, staring nervously ahead. Others look as if they're waiting for the subway. The emotions in this room are so buried in the absolutely fucking awkward nature of the space that I am having trouble concentrating on what's happening just beyond that exit door.

The black woman is asking everyone to have their method of payment ready. This is a disgusting fucking place, and a huge framed pink picture advertising it- complete with photos of multi-racial pro-choice protesters wearing buttons and carrying picket signs like "Family Planning Saves Lives"- hangs in front of me on the wall. And the door keeps swinging open, and women walk briskly through, looking stoic or forcing a tight-lipped grin to the bespectacled guard with the one cloudy eye. As the door opens, I feel a discomfort and small sadness that ends in a pang when it slams shut; everything feels abrupt in here. And, I just laughed out loud looking at a poorly-illuminated projection screen to my right which is updated with little trivia and games and such. It read "Let's play Who Wants to Be A Contraceptive Millionaire!"

*

She came out and gave me a weird smile, and I stood up thinking how quickly it went. I reached in to give her a hug and a kiss on the cheek and she recoiled, pushing me away. We exited tiredly into the sun.

"We have to come back," she began.

"What?"

"It's not finished."

She had green tea that morning, a huge no-no which had earned her an astonished and loud "GREEN TEA?" exclamation from her nurse. She puked having her blood drawn. I was furious. Of course, I knew I shouldn't have been, but I just wanted it to be over- for both of our sakes. Now it's 24 hours later. In those hours we screamed, fought, kissed, and slept. She came into my bed last night. I am totally exhausted and need to go to work in four hours. By then she'll be asleep, getting surgery. She'll have to take the cab home alone, but I'll be home shortly thereafter with more ice cream and movies for her.

*

It's been a month and a half since that day. I accompanied [omitted] to the clinic, waited, rested, listened to music, and realized how stupid I was for thinking everyone there was getting an abortion. I left for a minute to get a croissant from a small cafe further down Bleecker, and felt so awkward doing almost anything else knowing what she was going through. I felt I should be in the waiting room, not talking to anyone- not even looking at anyone- and waiting. When she opened the door, it was with a blast of cold, black sadness. She looked as if she had just seen death. She did. Her eyes were moist and serious with dark circles underneath. I shut off my iPod and walked her to the door. Of course, as a slap in the face, it was pouring rain outside.

I rushed out and was able to finally hail a cab, and we swung around to pick her up from keeping safe and dry in the small lobby. She began crying immediately as we drove. I took her hand in mine and did my best to comfort her without uttering a word. I made her food and rushed to work where I sat stationary for three hours and thought... We fought on and off- she was obviously emotional- and it was impossible at times do or say the right thing for her. She was mad regardless, and I couldn't be 100 percent present in my heart because we were no longer together and I knew that's what she wanted. We still slept together that night- even kissing and holding each other- and I suppose that was a strangely bitter consolation.