A freedom forever lost

“I’m right here, love. What are you doing over there? Playing? Hmm? I can feel you.” I tell my baby while caressing my belly this morning. He’s woken me up from a strange dream.

Having gone through some old clutter in a house and picked some wool flowers to keep, I was heading to work on my bike. And I stopped at this house up on a hill to visit my lover – a former university colleague I’ve never been attracted to, actually. As soon as she sees me in her garden, she comes up to me and kisses my lips. I tell her I’m going to work for an hour and a half and she says it’s too long to wait for me and she’s going to this journalistic evening event somewhere in the city. Something I wouldn’t be interested in, she adds making sure she’s got the evening for herself.

I’m feeling lonely and I know I’m no longer on the most eligible bachelorette list. Not since I’ve got my bump, anyway. But she doesn’t seem to mind the bump. Nor the absence of the father, for that matter. She’s got a five year old boy herself, being raised by her parents. I tend to be clingy at this point and want more of her. It’s like I’m trying to fill this vacancy – the life partner vacancy. And I hate that about myself. I swallow my disappointment and put on some sparkling, slightly transparent clothes, mount my bike and head to work.

As I’m waking up, I’m feeling happy it was just a dream. It’s not the first dream of its kind – my subconscious clearly projects its feelings of loneliness, anxiety, fear of the absence of the baby’s father. The kind of dream that makes me feel an acute loss. There’s a kind of freedom that’s now lost forever. Because no matter what happens to my relationship, I’ll always be a mother from now on. Can’t change that. And it involves so much attachment it often scares me stiff. On the other hand, it also involves so much love. A unique kind of love. They say you’ve never (been) loved this way before. That’s gotta be worth paying the price. You give up a kid of freedom for a whole world of love. It’s a deal!

24 weeks pregnant

On fear, bravery and waterfalls

I am the bravest person I know personally. And still, a part of me is so afraid…

That’s what I’m thinking the other night, unable to sleep.

Afraid of all the changes I am going through, in spite of wanting them so much. Afraid of what the future might bring, afraid of losing control, afraid of making mistakes, afraid of loss, afraid of heartache, afraid of my own body having a life of its own, beyond my control.

And right then and there, fighting through the burning sensation in the overstretched skin on my abdomen, rolling over on to my other side, it dawns on me. Being brave does not exclude being afraid. Of course I am afraid. Experiencing fear is part of human experience and absolutely no one is exempt from it. Being brave means you don’t let fear bring you down. It means you go on no matter what. It means you stand up for yourself. It means you confront your fears, you dive into them, find out their names, and pull through. And that is the only way ahead.

Being brave means having trust. An immutable trust in life to carry you further no matter what. On your own blessed path. Nothing, absolutely nothing can go wrong. There is no such thing as failure. And I have no doubt about it.

So yes, I am afraid. And I am brave enough to admit it. My most precious dream is coming true and I am more afraid than ever. The stakes are high, you see. And then, in the light of this new understanding, I tune in to my baby and feel his strong kicks in my belly. He is real. There can be no doubt about it. He has come to me. Shortly after my travel companion came. It all seemed long overdue for all three of us. So, like waterfalls, we pour into one another’s lives, swiping away everything else. Here we are.

The little prince hiding behind his fists, on the coldest hot summer day

It’s a hot day in Bucharest and I’ve arrived half an hour early for my ultrasound appointment. The clinic is right on the street where I spent my university years. So I take a walk and again I feel like a young girl visiting her grandparents in the city, on a summer holiday.

deserted garden bucharest

The dust particles stirred by occasional cars linger in mid air before deciding upon a surface to rest on after their flight. I walk by the old honey shop, where this very old bee keeper, white hair, blue eyes, wearing a sturdy white apron, used to welcome his customers into a different century as they were crossing his threshold. It’s been closed for years. He’s most probably died… I’ll always feel sorry I’ve never been in. I was just thinking I cannot afford to buy anything and was feeling guilty to go in just out of pure pleasure and curiosity. Such limitations have long been overcome by now and I prefer socializing and risk taking to regret.

closed honey shop bucharest

As always, I am impressed by wild gardens and their run down, deserted houses, where parties used to be held in the old times, love made, babies born… My own baby is squirming in my womb and I can feel his weight getting heavier by the day. Gradually his presence is becoming more and more noticeable, more and more real, albeit still miraculous in my view.

garden behind gate bucharest

The cold and sterile environment in the clinic half an hour later is making me uncomfortable and I realize I must be really nervous. My tensed muscles and shallow voice are giving me away. It’s also getting harder to focus and I start feeling like taking off. The doctor pushes the baby with her fingers and then taps on my belly, stinging me with her nails, in repeated, unsuccessful attempts to get him to turn his face towards us. He’s looking away all the time and hiding his face behind his fists. I cannot blame him.

His father, whom his profile seems to take after, is looking at the screen sitting on a chair behind the doctor, paying attention to all the details and trying to get as much of a view of his son as he can. I think he’s too far away and there should be room next to the bed so he can hug my shoulders, kiss me and hold my hand. There isn’t any, although the doctor’s office is impressive in size. Big and cold.

Later on, all three of us attend “The little prince. A show for grownups” and it dawns on me this is how our baby must feel. He’s left his world behind and is now travelling on a different planet. This is how I feel, how I’ve been feeling all my life, actually. An alien trying to establish contact with the species populating this planet, its inhabitants utterly and strangely autistic and so cold that their proximity  freezes the blood in my veins. I’m a complete stranger to these people… What am I doing here? I’ve left so many lives behind, so many identities, so many worlds… Where am I heading? Who is by my side? Who have I become?

The first day in Bucharest after a week on the island

It feels as if I were going through the long corridors of a mental institution. What is wrong with these people? I wonder.

The metro ride seems to last forever and I’m looking at people’s faces for a while, before getting out my book. A guy smelling of alcohol sits next to me and keeps falling asleep and over me. After two stops he is replaced by an overweight lady, who strategically places her big shopping bag full of groceries over my foot. I carefully extract it and she has no intention to apologize. I miss the cold politeness and remoteness on the fringes of autism of he Nordic countries.  Patience, my dear, I tell myself and go on reading the story  about a girl who has no friends and she can see and talk to ghosts.

I interrupt my reading to get off the train and find that it gets more bearable when I get into the park and among the trees, in a shaded alley, where I sit on a bench and enjoy the light being filtered by the leaf curtain. A girl gets up from a nearby bench, mounts her bike and rides off, the water in her plastic bottle fastened behind her seat sending rays of light to the tree trunks lining the alley. I miss my carefree bike riding, having only myself to think of. And as soon as I write this I my head I wonder if that’s even true. If indeed I ever only had myself to worry about and if indeed I miss those times when I longed for my travel companion and a family.

I take out my book, “Stories of the Peculiar”, and finish the story I started on my metro ride to the park. The girl in the story eventually falls in love with a living man, he loves her back, they move in together and have kids.

I am secretly hoping for a happy end, though I am afraid of a disappointment. That is why I don’t reject the possibility of a tragedy. It’s there, masking my hope for a happy end for fear I might look stupid (even to myself) for imagining pure happiness.

When I come to the end, after the ghosts of her dead parents and sister find her in her new home, having looked for her for a long time, and I read the ending

ending of story

I realize I do have a fear of happiness. When everything is fine I am afraid of things going wrong. I tend to be secretive about my plans until they have worked out for fear that spelling them out might spoil their chances of coming true.

I miss our holiday mood.

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