At the moment I’m so grateful I can barely move. The house I’m staying in smells so familiar and yet I can’t place the smell. A health food store, some earth, but something different than the sparkling skyscraper I see out the window, mistaking it, in the middle of the night, as an overgrown Christmas tree. I could be the remnants of the chicken soup that was on the stove when I walked in but I think it’s something that lingers long after and was here long before. A family that had been raised on books, the torn edges of the chronicles of narnia still on the shelves in the room I’m renting. I’m in a quiet white room with stained glass windows and a wooden platform that is wide enough for stretching. The bed is white and fluffy and the birds are chirping outside. It is heaven and the miracles have been flowing like water ever since I arrived.
The plane is always a miracle and an easy flight with no delays is always a gift. Standing outside the train station I reached into my jacket to search for change. In an interior pocket I found a ring, my favorite, one that I had given up for lost. And I had a shawl, without which I would have been cold, and I had it with me only because Jen gave it to me as a present just a few days before. When we were in sunny Florida together, walking the beach till the orange sun sank. I celebrated my 38th with her and her mom and Wayne, and the hippie scarf, as she called it, went in my bag with me when I flew up to New York.
Then there’s my dad who found parking in Park Slope on a Friday night, just steps away from the Barkley center that was going off when I walked past. He sat inside a cozy wine bar waiting for me to arrive and I saw him there, through the window, ignorant to the busy night outside. A table opened up with just enough to time for him to order liver and for me to run my argument for Hillary past him, still working out the kinks. You had a rough time there for a while, he said to me, of my recent past. It was 2008 and US economy was a mess and it was coming on ten years since 9/11 and still nobody talked about it, I said back. But no, I said, you knew what was hard? Being a 13 year old girl and having two best friends who didn’t actually like you.
Then there’s the apple cider my host offered me when I asked for water. I drank it up standing in the dark, the kitchen cabinets speckled with stickers like the kind you get from organic vegetables, and a clock that stood still at 11:09, two minutes before the miracle. Upstairs a gold lamp like the one in my parent’s room from which hung a turkey feather for so many years, some last bit of magic in their bedroom.
Then there’s the house that went on the market as soon as I left LA that looks like something made for us. A tiered backyard in the downward direction with so many flat spots and one with grass where you could get married if you wanted to. A bunch of white chairs spread out on the lawn folded out in my mind, in preparation for the occasion. The link comes through in an email from my boyfriend. Have you see this one, he asks of the listing and it takes me an hour to write back. As if doing so would make the purchase impossible, jinxed from the wanting.
All the while a baby grows in my belly. She flops and flips a little while I write reminding me that she’s the boss of all this change. Already asserting her will from inside the womb, asking me to create a world for her on which she is safe and loved and seen. What will I call her? I still don’t know. Somewhere back home there’s a necklace with initials on the back and I can’t remember what they are. Tell me, Lulu, my current nickname for her, what you want to be called. All of these things coming to me after I’ve started praying, before bed, after brushing my hair, for us to provide her with a family. Bring her safely into the world and let us make her feel welcome and be happy in the early months.