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There she goes.

by Anais Margolis about a year ago in breakups
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Here she comes.

There she goes.
Photo by Alwi Alaydrus on Unsplash

I press his tiny body against mine, bouncing my heels off the floor and circling the small room as I pat his back firmly, shushing him with each stroke of my hand. A simple wish on my lips; something I took for granted before his birth and even now I agonize over all the missed opportunities, the naivety of somehow thinking I could make up for lost time. Sleep, sleep, sleep. It’s the rhythmic dance of mother and newborn, and although I was warned, those warnings were cushioned with loving idioms of miracles, love at first sight, and adorable tushies. Nobody— not one mother— adequately warned me of this. And the thought sends a hard shiver down my spine— tearing their hair out wouldn’t suffice as punishment.

He wails wildly. Shrieking in my ear as if warning me against my horrid thoughts and softly I grumble, “go ahead, judge me.” My eyes fill with bitter tears and I press my cheek against his tiny shoulder. I hold my breath, trying to stop the heavy sobs trapped in my throat, but like crashing waves descending on to shore, they come. My heaving breaths tremble his body and my cries mute any sound coming from him. You’re not the only one who knows how to cry.

Blinded by my own tears, I shuffle through the dark room in search of the rocking chair, and collapse on a giant plush teddy bear instead. Eddy won it for me at the fair last year, before you were born, I remind him. The glittering lights of the Ferris wheel led us in; giddy smiles plastered across our young faces as we consumed everything in sight— ears of corn, turkey legs, blooming onions and swirls of funnel cakes and cotton candy, nothing sweetener than the melting of our mouths as we devoured each other in wet kisses.

I pressed his hand to my stomach; holding it there as we reached the very top of the Ferris wheel. A knowing smile as I shifted my eyes between his hand and his amber eyes, mouthing a silent I’m pregnant when I could no longer contain the news, and my mouth was sore from the wide smile across my face. A look of utter panic washed over his features and he simply shook his head in reply. Unlocking our arms and looking over our capsule at the tiny people down below. When our capsule finally did descend he simply walked on without another word, and disappeared into the crowd. I stood there for minutes, waiting. Unable to imagine he’d really gone. He’d really left me, just like that. All because our baby was inside of me. And then I remembered the stuffed animal. The giant teddy bear he’d won shooting darts, now weighing down my arm. And the memory still makes me cry.

I kiss the top of his head, whispers of hair tickle my lips and I realize he’s not crying anymore. He bobs his head uncontrollably, smacking his open mouth against me in search of my nipple, his only food source. For a moment we lock eyes; grey blue swirls peer from underneath two slits of half opened eyes, his wobbly head circles the small space between us and he brushes against my shoulder, shoving a tiny fist into his mouth as he sucks in the bliss of ignorance. I breathe in a sigh of relief. Maybe tonight he’ll sleep, maybe tonight will be the first night of our new normal, and maybe tomorrow I’ll wake up human again, not this venom spitting monster I’ve become in the wake of his birth. No, they definitely didn’t warn me about this.

We yawn, together. My wide open mouth masks his o-shaped lips and for the first time since his birth, I take a good hard look at him, and—

He looks just like Eddy.

And I wonder if his face will always shoot daggers in my heart, and if I’ll ever be able to look at him and not think of his father.

My fingers scratch the plush carpeting as I search for my phone, wondering what time it could possibly be. The curtains have been closed shut since our arrival from the hospital, which means I haven’t seen sunlight in eight days.

Nurse baby every three hours. Wake the baby up to feed during the day, let him sleep at night. The hospital's farewell advice echoes in my ears, and I hope I can finally close my eyes for more than thirty minutes; please baby just sleep.

Don’t throw the baby out the window, no matter what.

I run my fingers along a round object, it’s smooth heaviness balancing the weight of my broken heart. A snow globe. A hand painted ship sailing across a brisk aqua sea. Flecks of white cascade beneath the transparent sphere and in the darkness of the room, suddenly everything is white. The baby stares at the falling snow, his eyes cross and his head wobbles as he clings to the sight of the swirls of white, and for a long moment, we are fully consumed by the tiny world that sits on the palm of my hand.

The last white flakes brush the bottom of the sea, and a ship on the horizon comes into view. If it’s coming or going, I do not know; but something tugs at my instincts, reminding me it could be both. Only mere months ago I breathed fresh air, I laughed out loud, and I ran like a woman equipped with a gaily energy that ran through her veins, never imagining it possible to leave that shell of comfort—or that there’d be a shell at all— that could mask the parts of me more powerful, than any smile I ever gave.

Maybe as I disappear, further and further from who I was—that naive girl at the fair—I’ll emerge on the other side of the horizon. And maybe, just like the ship and the viewers who wave her off shouting, there she goes, as she peeks from the horizon, someone on the other side will see me coming. They'll flag me down and whistle loud as I approach, baby in tow, here she comes, they’ll say. And I’ll know I’ve arrived.


About the author

Anais Margolis

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