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

The end of a journey

‘Congratulations! Welcome to the fourth grade!” I shake this long haired boy’s hand and then bend forward and take him into my arms, having carefully placed a beautiful flower coronet on his head. “I can’t wait to meet you again, on numerous happy occasions.” I continue in a low voice, close to his ear. “I love you!” I tell him grabbing his shoulders and looking him straight in the eye.

“I love you too…” he whispers, throwing his arms around me again and squeezing me hard.

This is a child I was advised to give up on back when I took the class two years ago.

“If I were you”, the school mentor told me in a one to one discussion, “I’d take the class on condition that he leaves. You can’t handle him. I wouldn’t keep him either, and I am so much more experienced than you are.”

I disregarded the advice and took the class the way it was.  He was not the most challenging child.

My greatest accomplishment as a class teacher is not what I have managed to teach my kids in these two years we’ve spent together. Not even being able to ‘handle’ them. I have loved all of them – this is my greatest accomplishment. And I have been loved by all of them.  I have made a significant difference. In their lives and in the world. I will never be forgotten. And they will always be a part of me. They have helped shape who I am today perhaps as much as I have helped shape who they are now.

Going home in my new life, I’m looking at my reflection in the dark window as the noisy  train is rushing along cold and damp tunnels. The lavender in the flower coronet next to my three owls on a branch present in the paper bag I’m holding offers such a refreshing feeling.

“Would you like to sit?” I hear a voice and follow the line from the fingertips tapping my arm to the smiling face of this stout young woman, offering me her seat on the subway.

“Oh, thank you!” I reply smiling back. “It’s ok, I’m getting off at the next stop.”

I’ve really started showing.



I never forget to say thank you

I go jogging late tonight and, before leaving the hotel, I ask the receptionist, placing my room key on the reception desk, whether the party in the restaurant is gonna last long.

“Till morning”, she says, smiling while looking straight into my eyes.
“So… How do you suppose the other people in the hotel can sleep tonight?” I ask her, smiling back.
“Well… I am sorry… What floor are you on? Oh, the first… Yes… You see, I would change your room, but we are fully booked, I am sorry. It is not up to me…”

Then she adds something about some of the guests having to leave the country tomorrow and the party having been postponed from daytime to nighttime in the nick of time and other stuff I choose to ignore as I’m smiling and nodding.

I thank her and go out. And I am so tired and just want to go to bed but the least I can do is spend my time in a useful way if the noise is too loud to sleep. So I run. My legs hurt, my arms hurt and I yawn from time to time. But at least it’s quiet as I am moving further away from the hotel and I can listen to the crickets and the leaves rustling under my feet and I can see the full moon above, lighting up the sky like the sun at night up in the north.

I force myself to go all the way and, when I start running back, on the other side of the road, I stop from time to time to collect feathers from the ground, as I need them for the creative writing workshop I am teaching this week. So I end up running with this small bunch of black feathers closely tucked in my right hand. Listening to them whizzing as I am running, I make the decision to start working on my book in September and finish it before the end of the year. I have all it takes.

So I get back to the hotel, holding my small bunch of black feathers. The party is loud and quite a lot of people are dancing on the terrace or chatting in the parking lot. As I make my way to the entrance, three men standing in front of the main door, holding their drinks, sticking out their bellies and waving huge, imaginary dicks in my face, are quietly staring at my legs. I pretend not to notice and raise my chin, sticking out my chest as I walk past them and into the lobby. The receptionist hands me my key without a word. I say thank you and go upstairs.