Thursday, February 15, 2007


Thank all of you for the well wishes and good thoughts. We've decided to travel home for the funeral--it's Saturday at 2pm--and I'm readying myself for that. For some reason, I really, really, really did not want to go. But I can't not go. I just can't.

In the midst of all these things I occupy myself with--pondering on my feminisms, my dissertation, the death of people I know--I sometimes need a break to just be my normal self-- doing the things in my apartment that won't get done unless I roll up my sleeves or watching TV when I should be writing or even slapping dinner together in a hurried, mad rush. I did all those things in the last couple of days. Sometimes, they aggravated the damned migraine. Sometimes, they made me feel as if I had a life, like I wasn't holding my breath to be finished with the dissertation, at which point my "real" life could begin.

So, here I reconstruct a Tuesday night conversation that is typical of the part of my life not centered around writing and thinking analytically, but around things I've learned from living and being a mom and friend. I find a lot of comfort in that sometimes.

**Phone Rings**
Before I can get much past, "Hello," BF Louisiana, announces breathlessly, "The baby hasn't moved today. My hubby says I'm thinking too hard but I'm worried."
"Not at all? You know sometimes you get so used to it and you don't notice."
"No, usually he acts a fool. And I haven't felt anything."
"Okay. Did you drink some orange juice?"
"Orange juice?" (She sounds like she thinks I'm crazy)
"Mm-hmm. I don't know why, but they always told me to drink orange juice when it felt like the kid wasn't moving."
The kid chimes in, "Really?"
"Get out of grown folk's conversation," I snap. I hear her digging through the refrigerator.
"I don't have orange juice. I have some Sunny Delight. Will that work?"
At this point, I'm second-guessing myself. So I holler for my sister.
"What, girl?" Sis says.
"Remember when they used to tell us to drink orange juice when the baby didn't move?"
"I didn't have that problem. But I remember they told you to drink orange juice. And lay on your side?"
"Which side?"
"How the hell do I know? Which preggie is it?"
"The one in Louisiana!" I turn back to the phone, "Drink some orange juice and lay on your side. That's what they told me."
"And did I move?" the kid asks. I give him my, you gon' get it look, then tell him, "You alive, ain't you?"
"He nosy," BF LA says. "I'm gon' drink this, okay?"
"Ok. And lay down. And call me back."
She called me back in less than an hour. "Girl, thank you. He is flipping and jumping and acting crazy."
"What the hell is it about orange juice?"
"I don't know." Then I hear her hubby say, "Can y'all take y'all paranoid asses to bed now?"
"Shut up!" she says.
Then, she reassures me, "Everything is normal now."

Normal, sometimes, is quite nice.


Anonymous said...

It's the left side! Always the left side. BF Louisiana sounds like me and my paranoid self!

I'm glad you've been able to have some sense of normalcy through all this.

You and your family are in our prayers. We'll miss you this weekend!


Courtney said...

It's the sugar in the juice. Hits the blood stream quick. Had a few moments of having to do that myself.

Normal is nice. Sometimes I forget that.

Anonymous said...

you are in my prayers as you go home...

and i love the "you're alive" response.

Gwyneth Bolton said...

Yeah, normal isn't bad at all... I adore the kid and I have never met him! LOL.

Elle, you are an amazing writer. I'm teaching a creative nonfiction class this semester and I wish I had stuff like this in my stack of to-be-graded... :-)

Travel safe. You and yours will be in my thoughts and prayers.


QuakerDave said...

I am so sorry for your loss. I will be holding you and yours in the Light.

wwwmama said...

elle, I'm so so sorry for your loss. And this post brought me back to my pregnancy days. My sister lost a baby around the time of birth, and so when I got pregnant I worried the entire nine months. My poor daughter was constantly being nudged and sent juice to get her to move!

Revelations and ruminations from one southern sistorian...