so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
(Isaiah 55:11 NIV)
She never had any babies in St. Louis. The babies she did have were all born. And now all she could remember was that none were born in this city. This city where she now lived and hoped to die.
She sat on the exam table , perched like an overgrown chicken on a roost, wobbling forward catching her reflection in the window overlooking the entrance ramp onto I-40 East. Where if she drove a few miles, she’d be able to roam Forest Park, to roam and remember all her babies. Babies that entered this world from an emptied womb, crying for breath. Clamoring for attention, nurture and even discipline. To her discipline marked the way to minimize the pain, the hurts and the boo-boos of life. Through order and control, she wanted to insulate them.
Isolated in an exam room, wishing she was there to see the obstetrician, rather than the gynecologist. Wrapped in a paper robe, undressed from the waist down. The routine, the annual exam, which always came back negative and lifeless. No need for a pregnancy test. Her ovaries were shriveling, her uterus shedding less and less. No more babies.
She would never wake with nausea again or be elated by fluttering in her abdomen. No more swelling to the size of a small watermelon, no more kicks inside her belly. She was empty.
Death crept in. Growing older and older, questioning how she would live with no more babies to be born. To birth something else felt so trite. To write a novel or play, or even a poem seemed like too much effort. Effortless life she ached for–but that was a lie.
A ripe lie. A luscious lie. A lie she could wrap her life around, but she was too worn with experience and facts. This lifeless lie was as illusive as all those babies she bore elsewhere.
In her head, she was lithe and supple and fertile and capable. In her head, she could bear up under any loss or supposed obstacle. In her head, she believed in a miracle.
She gazed out the window. How far would her credit card take her down I-40 East? How long before she tired of hotel rooms and fast food? How long before she remembered that she would never have any babies in St. Louis? She wondered if she could write a novel or a play or even a poem about this one thought. Could one sentence set a plot into motion? Did she need a stronger conflict? A more interesting character who thought about darker solutions to life and its lies? Or could this one sentence lead to another and another.
After about thirty minutes on the exam table, the nurse knocked. She told the woman to get dressed. The doctor had to deliver a baby that afternoon. “You’ll have to reschedule,” she told the waiting woman. The woman waiting, who would never have any babies in St. Louis.
(The first sentence came to me last year, while waiting, and so I gave it life on the page, and more sentences did follow.)
What are you waiting for?