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A few months ago, I was at a museum about world war II. They had these displays of film footage from the ghettos in Warsaw. They were like, installed in these special viewing things. Like looking down into a barrel or something – built so that you’d have to be grown up, or at least tall, to look in. And on the outside, it says, “not for sensitive viewers.”
So I looked in, and guess what, I’m a sensitive viewer. There are some things I just can’t look at anymore, usually ones involving dead bodies. It’s not so much that I can’t handle the gore… it’s what it reminds me of. I guess I never understood until now. My eyes can take it, my brain can deal, too. But my memory is its own thing. So now, as a sensitive viewer.
It’s a secret, you know.
Yes, Dear Reader – now you know. As of October’s end, D and I found out we’ve got the chance to try for this again. Someone’s there, invisible and undetectable – with the exception of wily echograms and blood tests.
For now, I’m too terrified to admit someone’s really there – barely to myself, let alone others. I’m nowhere near ready to receive anything amounting to congratulations, I’m not toughened enough to hold up under the everything-will-be-okays and the lightening-doesn’t-strike-twices. Nor the knowing smiles, smug with ignorance, at the sight of a specifically-shaped belly. I’ve read your stories – I know what’s out there, waiting. And I’m not playing.
Which means that the world at large will be kept in the dark (except of course, for you, gentle reader). For as long as possible.
You see, I’m very good at the art of disguise. I’ve been wearing masks for years, even if it’s just for those short, key moments where anonymity is needed, when the truth risks way too much. Hiding the hangover (and embarassment) at that early morning meeting, the one you can’t believe you kissed sitting right across from you. Shrugging oh, those scars? Just from a stupid fall from a chain-link fence. Smiling for mom, even though the biopsy just came back positive, not wanting to see her cry. Not letting on how much you really liked him; loved him.
Now it’s simply time to raise the bar a bit – from face to full-body. Jumping into an inconspicuous gorilla suit.
For now it’s easy. Shooting fish in a bucket. For one, I am greatly aided by today’s trends. I’m not in maternity, I’m fashion-forward. Empire-waisted tunics and long loose tops are my fast, dear friends – all the kids are wearing them. And, take note – I live virtually among strangers, you see – people new to my scene, to whom my normal state is pregnant or post. They don’t know what I’m supposed to look like. I’m swathes of land and water away from family and old friends who’d be likely to notice those differences in dress and shape. Also, there’s my continued aversion to most, if not all, social occasions. Not drinking can’t arouse suspicion if I’m not out there, not drinking. Easy. Alcohol and grief hadn’t been so good for each other, anyway.
The game is on. All medical personnel and our lovely Lowland doula who’s stuck with us through all this are automatically disqualified.
I know I need some support. I’m not that crazy.