I don’t know what’s more exhausting: negotiating two contradictory thoughts trying to occupy the same space — I am so pregnant; I am so not pregnant — or orbiting that space endlessly for five solid days. I’m like a yellow jacket with orange soda. I go here and there, visit friends, live my life, and within seconds, I’m back buzzing around that can of soda.
The only peace I got today was lying on the acupuncturist’s table. I was relaxed, thinking about the soup place across the street and how I hoped they would finally return to the regular miso soup and get rid of that dreadful looking seafood miso they’ve had lately, and I remembered how when I was there the other day, I watched one of the chefs scoop out half a dozen dumplings from a pot of steaming water with an elongated strainer. There was a pile of fleshy, rubbery dumplings in the strainer, and he kept tapping it against the edge of the pot, trying to shake the excess water off. The next thing I knew, I was picturing someone scooping the twins out of my uterus with an elongated strainer, flipping them up and down in the metal cage to get out the excess water.
That was the last thought I had before my acupuncturist’s wife flipped the light on and said, “Hi, Ca-ren. How you fee-ling,” in that sing-song way she always says it just before she starts removing the needles and dropping them in the little bucket. She hadn’t even gotten to the last needle when I was already back buzzing around the orange soda.
Truth be told, I’ve always obsessed about things, from turning in a bad story to wondering why a friend failed to answer an email. I had a therapist who called it “ruminating,” no doubt on the list of character traits of the mentally ill. The only way I know to shut it off, short of a baseball bat to the head, is drugs and alcohol, and right now, both are verboten. There’s a part of me that hopes I’m not pregnant so I can get back to my vodka martinis. The prospect of going nine months without alcohol must be how a new marathoner feels at the start of a race. How am I going to make it through Father’s Day with Bruce’s family, or Joshua’s bar mitzvah, the writer’s conference, the pig roast in July, Kathy’s 50th birthday with all of Bruce’s college friends, let alone my work day tomorrow. I love vodka. I miss it terribly.