I can’t help but wonder if I’m still pregnant. I don’t have morning sickness, and my breasts felt more sore a couple of days ago. There used to be a saying in journalism that newspaper photos had to pass the breakfast test: they couldn’t be so graphic that readers threw up their cereal. I’ll spare the details but suffice it to say, I’ve been spotting — and then some — every time I wipe. Despite seeing the tiny fetus on the ultrasound monitor, I fear I have now passed him like a kidney stone. I keep thinking of the little cowboy kid in Willy Wonka, who went from being a human being in the room to being an image on a television screen, except my baby went from being an image on an ultrasound monitor to being a human being in the room, just before being plunged into the toilet. It’s gotten so that I don’t want to go to the bathroom for fear of what I may find on the toilet paper.
Worse, I’ve been sleeping a lot and gaining weight. So now if I’m not pregnant, I have nothing to which I can attribute these nasty habits but my own sloth-like nature.
Every now and again, I feel a wave of nauseau come over me, but it’s usually just after I’ve asked myself, “Do I feel sick?” The question always precedes the feeling and not the other way around. It’s similar to when I was trying to quit smoking many years ago. Every time I’d consider the idea , I’d be overcome with a strong compulsion to have a cigarette, even if I’d just put one out. It’ll be nice to be past all of this, when my every waking moment isn’t filled with the question, am I still pregnant or am I not? I almost don’t care anymore. I just wish it were one way or the other. A person could go crazy living with this kind of uncertainty.
The heat was oppressive yesterday –95 degrees but they said it would feel like 100. It did. Even those who went to the beach said it was hot unless you stayed in the water, which everyone did. There were so many people in there, it was almost like standing in a rush hour subway car except that your feet were in water. Instead of the beach, Bruce and I went to the movies. We wanted air conditioning and popcorn. We saw a movie called Grown Ups, a terrible film about five elementary school friends who reunite upon the death of their childhood basketball coach. They all bring their wives and spoiled children to a house on the lake, and by the end of the film, everyone is transformed. Bad as the movie was, it conveyed one of my fears about parenthood: I want my children to be nice people who play with wood blocks and board games like Candyland and Chutes and Ladders. I don’t want them to play Grand Theft Auto and text their nanny. It’s hard to know what to do about it, though. I’ve considered not letting my child have any electronic devices until he’s in college, but either he’ll be a freak or hate me for it. You can’t hide modern-day society from these kids. News of these gadgets will leak out, and then resent me for not having these things even if he doesn’t know what they are. He’ll just know everyone else has them. And then my mind says, “What child? You’re not even pregnant.”
We walked to the beach last night to watch the fireworks. Bruce led the way, taking us on a trek across the sand in the dark as I complained about why we had to keep going farther and farther and how I was going to trip over a piece of concrete and break a tooth.
“I know what I’m doing,” Bruce said. “Have I ever steered you wrong?”
As we reached the border of the next town, which was the town putting on the fireworks display, we started to unfold our chairs but were stopped by a police officer who told us to move back. He was about to cordone off the area because they didn’t want people too close to the where the fireworks were being set off. It was testament to how far that town had come in terms of its redevelopment. In years past, you could sit so close to the fireworks, you could almost taste the ashes. I liked the town better when it was dysfunctional and people were afraid to come here.
Soon the show started and Boom! A blast of color, like a big red carnation in the sky. And then another. And another. It was brilliant. And our seats were perfect. We were as close as we could get, and the ocean was just to our right, lapping at the shore. As I watched the brilliant pyrotechnics display, I was in awe and thought yes, Bruce had once again steered us right. And for one small moment, as the fireworks exploded before us, I forgot about losing our baby.