On the first day of kindergarten, my mother told me I could never have children. She got on her knees and wiped a smear of jelly from my cheek and told me. I don’t know why she chose that moment. Maybe because I was about to begin my life among children, and she wanted me to savor them.
Every year, on the first day of school, she reminded me. I went to public school, but chose to wear plaid skirts like the parochial school girls.
When I was twenty I became pregnant. I was astounded. My mother caused us to become estranged. She wouldn’t explain why. My live-in boyfriend of two years became ever more antsy. He began reminding me that I had told him that I could never have children.
One day, when I had gotten uncomfortably big, he said: You lied to me. You’re a liar.
I said: I never told you anything but the truth as I know it, rather, as I knew it.
My personal mythology has become mythology. Religion has crumbled all around us, even in Europe, my boyfriend has fled, and I am with child.
The woman with dead eyes says: I am misunderstood, bruised by indifferent humanity.
When I see her on the bus I ignore her. I don’t want to fall into her trap. She could suck the juice from my soul like a spider. She could pigeonhole me like a used book on a shelf, pages brown and curled. So I ignore her, for my own protection.
Her cunt broadcasts like a radio. She flexes her calves as she lays in bed sleepless. Insomnia has made her calves into hardballs as big as softballs. With that locomotive power, she could push me into the next county, into a dry corn field. She could bulldoze me into Murphy’s Bar, Dry Cornfield Central. My only defense is to keep myself off the TV screen of her malignant drama. I must always remember: she is the woman with dead eyes. If I forget, all I have to do is look in her eyes. If she’s wearing sunglasses, I must rely on memory. If she’s listening to the Rolling Stones, I need to find the volume control and turn it down.