“Where’s the father? Is he in the picture?”
“Yes, of course,” I said.
Of course he was in the picture. I met Charley in Moab last October. He was basically homeless and working at a pizza place. His friend saw me looking for wine at a Utah gas station (does not exist) and offered up beer and a hostel. It was after midnight and I’d been driving all day after being told by my boss at the newspaper that copy editing probably wasn’t for me. So I said yes, let’s go to this hostel. And there was Charley, sitting in the backseat of this stranger’s car. He nodded. He was cute.
At the hostel, under Christmas lights, we talked and drank vodka and I interviewed him for an alternative newspaper article on Peter Pan syndrome in ski towns. He was full of ridiculous things to say like: “snowboarding is better than sex”. His drunk friend, who’d invited me in the first place, clawed at me. He looked like a hungry lizard. I ignored him and zeroed in on Charley with the focus I’d given to SAT exams and cross country races. Then I took him to my tent. And then we spent four days together and a week later he moved into my apartment with me and the rest is history.
Okay the rest is lots of fighting and lots of love-making and a trip to Vegas that procured a pregnancy and a quaint outdoor wedding in May with only the slightest baby bump I hid with a giant bouquet, and lots of adventures and drama and love and a couple of extra pets along the way. And my stagnant, earnest life went into full-throttle mode. My one bedroom apartment was filled with myself, all my books, telescope, records, neuroses, six animals and a crazy man with pretty blue eyes.
On the phone with Charley: “I’ll visit if I can get the money.”
Again, this feels like a mistake. Maybe the doctors thought I was a different pregnant person.
A maintenance man, with a backpack that makes him look like a Ghostbuster, comes to fix the shower head. Various nurses stroll in. Half-way through my lunch I cry in the bathroom hoping no one will barge in.
“I’m sad,” I text Charley.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know when I’ll see you again or what’s happening. I look and feel gross.”
“No sweets every time you say that u r beautiful.”
But I was looking in the mirror and I didn’t look beautiful. I looked bloated and mopey and old. My hair was short and ratty. My eyes were dry and red.
So I bought a giant pink teddy bear in the hospital gift shop and sat in a sunny flower bed and talked to Charley on the phone.
Day 13: August 23th. I talk to Charley on the phone about ten times a day. He’s going to drive my dad to the airport. He has to be careful because he still hasn’t gotten a license. But he likes my dad. My dad tells him Vietnam War stories and girlfriend stories and Judo in Japan stories. It’s rare but he’s talkative when he’s in a good mood one-on-one, talking about himself, and road trips can bring that out of him.
My blood pressure rises again and the doctor increases the Lebetalol dosage.
This morning three separate nurses and an ultrasound doctor had to find my baby on the NST monitor. Everything was normal but the machine was broken and my baby was swimming around a lot and again the machine was broken. My breakfast sat next to me for an hour and a half. Cold pancakes. I was in a pretty bad mood about it.