On the Hurry and the Bloom: a love story
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On the Hurry and the Bloom
We move from the small house, where we brought home our first baby, the one of our young love, the one behind the rock house where Grandma feeds us crystalized ice cream and the juice red slices of large tomatoes from her small garden. It’s the first neighborhood of my entire life, with a park, and dogs, and kids who ding-dong ditch. It’s a grand house in my scheme of things – three bedrooms total, a living room with a tall, well-lit ceiling.
I decorate. My mama makes my curtains, and they’re beautiful. I put everything in a place as it should be. Another baby is coming. His name is Jude. I know he is artist, how he pushes me from within and then slides his leg or arm the diameter round, feeling his space, filling his space.
Seth plants seeds in a flower bed, babies of his own, his first working at dirt. He thinks of them in the night, sets the sprinkler to their attention. And I, too, think in the night how lovely it would be for something to mind my clock. I need this baby out. Doctors have put me on bed rest, and Seth works and works the dirt, hot pepper plants turning trees in the back yard.
When no one watches, I buy castor oil, and I drink it. I drink ounces and follow with coke, and then I wait for the low burn and the consistent back strain. I breathe steady and rock on my feet. I labor, and Seth works gently along. And then the drums start. It’s late dark out. And drums start.
And the drums keep drumming, inconsistent, bad drumming, in a garage, with teenagers, who grow loud and show tiny cracks up from their jeans. In an oiled stupor, I rise. I lean through the warm front door into summer night, bare-footed and pregnant, and I stomp, having just had a contraction, with just enough time to make it to their yard. I pause to breathe, and then I walk in their grass, introduce myself as a neighbor in labor at night, and I tell them to hush, and their eyes are wide moons, and they say, “yes, ma’am.”
And the drumming stops, and so do my contractions. I am so mad.
Sometimes the body misleads, all this work we have to do when the garden isn’t made for us anymore. It’s a curse, to feel the need to step in, bound by time and pain. God is Invisible, so we induce. He is invisible, but we are in Him, even when we try to lead. I cover the bed in so much blood. Six centimeters and then baby to breast within 10 minutes, Seth smothers in the idea of losing.
I hold crinkle nosed baby in my arms. I’m pale white, Seth cornered all blank, and it hits me, again, how he loves me; how I love what he’s planted; how I love my Jude; how he moves in bulk, studying faces; how gently he undoes our swaddling – full bloom from the beginning.