a love story on going to outer space
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We move into a big new house, with neighbors who mow their yards and jog in the morning. It’s awkwardly beautiful to me, a house I try so hard to love. I squeak it clean. We have found out that it’s a boy, my third boy, the one I’ll call “baby” longer than the other two think needed.
Seth drives me from there to the hospital, and they hook me up again, get the dull roar going in my back, and we get the jitters, wonder how long it will take this time.
My best friends come in, and we giggle. Brooke puts fuzzy socks on my puffy feet, and I love all their hovering, the caring and jabbering. It’s my favorite thing, too, how much we love all love Seth and how ridiculous he is in the rare moment he gets nervous.
He sits on the doctor’s stool, and he rolls his belly up next to mine, leans in close – not too close, just right. He loves me, left hand soothing through my hair and right hand wrapped around my hand, fingers pressed to my palm, gauging intensity. Seth makes eyes to my friends. Some looks make them knee-slap, but then as his eyes start to tell them to quieten, I announce: “I am now going to outer space, and I’ll see you later.”
My eyes close, and a heavy curtain pulls over my mind, they on one side, I on the other. A wave hits so strong it should throw me out of bed, and I ride it long in the dark, breathe steady, then finally I arrive: a throne room. Wait, and I settle there, gold reflecting endless angles of light, and I am down on the floor, warm, and as long as I gaze, I can stand the wave. I am not thrown, so I wonder why I’m there.
“What am I to do with this sort of alter?” I ask, “What can I give here?” and intense pain pulls the moans out, and I am honing, and out of me, Holy Spirit present, I remember names and gratitudes and home smells and words to country church hymns, and I pile it all up there where the blood goes.
And then the wave takes me, and I don’t know where I am, except the hand that never leaves me. My eyes peal open, I sit straight up, and back labor contorts. Seth signals, and eight hands lay, some with all the might of an army. They hold me up and they beat me and they calm me. My best friends are there.
My best friends. They get in the waves with me.
And an urge to push rushes in, and my heart rate jumps to 230 per minute, my body rocking in jolts. The strangers with lamps and metal push all hands back, make them jump the wave, and this is outer space. Seth asks, “Is she okay IsSheOkay IsSheOk” until all sounds mute, and I don’t know if I’ll hold my baby before my heart explodes.
Now one set of eyes, usually so meek, looks into me square, looks right inside until she finds me, and she yells, “Amber, you can do this!” She yells it, and I believe her.
So I push him out, and we hear STAT and needles come in to calm the heart. I float a little because the pressure drops.
Tears and high-pitched awes pour rightly over my Ian, how perfect he is, and long. The camera snaps.
But Seth stays with me like a hitching post. Still holding my hand, he counts the ways of my heart.