I read an article about the ocean. The floor of the sea is a graveyard, it said.
Spring is here and things aren't hidden anymore. The leaves from last fall are decomposing.
I found a piece of candy in the flowerbed and remembered a few days before Christmas. Santa rides through our neighborhood on a noisy firetruck, throwing candy. I'm not sure why it has such an effect on me, but I am crazy for this. I keep the blinds open on our picture window, letting in the radiating cold, hoping for a glimpse of him. I heard the siren and jumped from my seat, spilling a cup of tea and picked Scouty up from where she was playing on the floor. She let out a surprised yelp and my startled husband yelled, "What's wrong?"
My big girl in pajamas, I ran into the snow in my bare feet, carrying her, saying to her, "There he is! Wave to him so that he knows where you live!" The fireman sounded the siren again and Santa threw a haphazard bunch of candy into the snow where it disappeared.
"There's a girl here named Scouty who lives here!" my love called. "She's four and she has a little sister!"
"Okay!" Santa said, in a big, booming voice.
I found this hilarious. My girl is calling out to her number one guy, the big guy that's going to make all of her dreams come true, begging him not to forget her... and he's just some rough around the edges city firefighter, so all he can think to reply is, "...Okay!"
The candy was a fireball, still in it's wrapper. I showed it to Scouty and she asked to eat it. When I told her no, she said, "Is it because it was on the ground and the ground has germs, or because I shouldn't eat too much sugar or because it's a ball and I might choke?" Are there really this many reasons not to eat candy? I wonder if her head is swimming with all the reasons why she can't do the things she wants to do.
"Those are all good reasons," I told her.
Springtime is beautiful, of course, but it's terrible, too. I found an abandoned bird's nest with a cracked eggshell inside, slick with strands of bloody membrane. Grassy deer droppings in the mud. Like putting the needle back on the record, things just come alive again. Is it that easy for me?
I became desperate after the births of my children. Sleepless and trembling and cold-sweating through the night. Kurt held a four-day-old Louise while I cried at his feet in the dark of an early morning. I wanted to be able to take the pain pills they gave me after my c-section forever. I couldn't eat or settle down. Doctors talk about rapid hormone shifts. "Something isn't right with me," I cried.
The first time, I was scared and new to being a mommy. I just powered through the depression. I was good enough. I was strong enough. I didn't need any help. I manhandled the panic attacks the surfaced for the first time in my life, unsure of what was happening to me. All I knew was that I needed to be good enough to care for my perfect, tiny baby. I couldn't admit that I was losing it. The world would say, "I told you so! She's an incapable loser. There's no way this perfect and beautiful baby girl belongs to her."
I vowed that if it happened again, if I was suddenly debilitated by shaking hands and a skipping heart on the forth or fifth day of my second daughter's life, I would simply call the doctor. I had him paged. The doctor that made me feel like a specimen, I barely considered him to be a human being. He was a creature above me that made my decisions for me. "I can't eat or sleep," I told him over the phone, "I'm trembling and freezing and I sweat all night long." He called in a prescription for an anti-depressant. It made me feel better. It made me feel normal.
I wonder, now. Is it that easy? Can I step down this medicine and just come back to life with a crackle and a swoosh, and cue the music? I suppose that I'll need sunlight and open air. I suppose that I got through the winter with the help of a medicine and maybe I'm ready to clean my blood, again. But maybe I'm scared, too. Maybe I'm worried that postpartum is waiting for me, just under the numbing effects of the mood altering drug.
What if I do come alive and it's not like I thought?
Well, I suppose it will be beautiful, of course, to be free. And it might be a little bit terrible, too.
I think I'll wait awhile.
I got better the first time, on my own. I think I'll let myself be helped for as long as I can, this time. I've never slept better in my life.
I'm going to do it.
I'll know when it's time to put the needle to the record.
At least give me until the ground thaws, until the sun is warm on my face. At least wait until there's nowhere to hide, for all the brightness in the world.