I am a spectator in this one, not a participant, but that doesn't make it any less horrible:
I am at an ice cream shop in some Latin American country. A woman is there with her husband and a friend and is laughing about a bullet that has ricocheted into the shop and has pierced her spoon. The pink plastic spoon is trickling blood, like a stigmata, and the woman is laughing and laughing at the sight. Then the friend asks about the woman's baby, and the woman begins to look around, frantic. Her baby is nowhere to be seen. And then the ice cream shop keeper tells them that it was the baby who had been shot, not the spoon, and that the baby had died. "They wrote TRANQUILO on his arm before they took him away," he says, and the woman collapses with grief.
Not a great dream to wake up to on my birthday, but I suppose it's always good to remember how fragile life is, how easily it can be taken away. I never had postpartum depression, per se, but I remember being unable to stop crying a few days after Arin was born because I couldn't bear the fact that this beautiful baby I had brought into the world was going to die some day. It broke my heart beyond belief. I kept thinking about Rilke writing about how each pregnant woman carries two fruits inside of her: a birth and a death. I just wanted the one fruit--the juicy new one.
In the midst of my melt down, my ex-husband Matt brought me over to Arin and made me put my hand on his new little body. "This is his arm," he reminded me, "This is his leg. He is here right now." I was so grateful to be brought back into the moment, in all its sweetness.
And that's all we have really, this moment--which is what I want to savor on my birthday. And I want to acknowledge that other scary fruit, the one that is seeping into my dreams, the one that threatens to overwhelm with its scent of ferment, but I don't want to give it power over me; I want its presence to help me appreciate the fresher fruit all the more.