It’s funny how death teaches us about life.
Well, if you’ve been following along, you know that I decided to leave Prague back in July and I did it like a thief in the night. I secretly told people goodbye — mental telepathy secretly. I’d see someone who I cared about deeply as a friend and I’d know it was the last time I was going to see them for awhile, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell them goodbye. So inside, I’d be like, “I’m leaving Prague for awhile. I love you. See you soon!” Then when I was out of their sight I would cry.
I hate goodbyes.
A month or so before I left, I was lucky to earn some sessions with an emerging life coach who really helped me work through my self worth, relationship fears and how to say goodbye. I’m not sure why I have so much anxiety around uttering this simple phrase. For our last session, she gave me some transference exercises to try. I was to attach good feelings to a nice photo and when the anxiety came up, I was to swoosh that picture into my visual space and feel better. As I said goodbye to my 3 adult students whom I’d grown so close to…the tears would come and I would try…swoosh…and nope. Tears and words choked in my throat. I had to damn-near pat them on the back and run out of the cafe on our last sessions. Like a child. Ugh.
Another reason I left so quietly and didn’t say proper goodbyes was because I didn’t feel like explaining that I was leaving to go get knocked up by some guy I barely knew.
Doesn’t matter. In my head, I still have one foot in Prague and one foot in Baltimore, Maryland where we settled. I’m holding onto Prague because I worked so hard for my visa and health insurance and it seems like a good move to keep that status should I want to travel again or god-forbid need some major health insurance. So there we are.
And where am I?
After the funeral, I found a cute flat for me and The Indian in Baltimore. Many folks in these parts are anti-Baltimore due to high crime and severely sketchy neighborhoods, but I kinda like it. Very charming in some areas. Amazing and interesting history; like, Edgar Allen Poe lived a few blocks from our flat — how cool is that? And, there is some lovely architecture. Coming from Prague, I need this type of aesthetic art in my life.
But really, where am I?
In my last post, I mentioned how everything with my Indian boyfriend wasn’t always roses and caviar. It wasn’t. And it is not surprising why. We don’t know each other. We are two people who wanted a family, now, and that common denominator got us intertwined in trying for a kid. I told my married Czech friend about this, one of the ones I couldn’t bear to leave, and she looked at me sideways and said, “You’re doing it backwards. Child, marriage, love?” She was right. I know this. I never do anything the “right” way, I’ve decided. I just don’t. I’m always moving to cities with hope, a few bucks and a vision board. It’s tough, but it always works out. This arrangement is no different. My mom calls it an arranged marriage. My dad and brothers call it nothing, but when they call me, they constantly ask, “Are you sure? Are you alright?”
I’m alright. Basically. I’ve been trying for a baby since May with no success yet. I’ve moved to a newish country, new city, with no job and one good friend nearby and family an hour away. On top of all that, Belinda’s death caused such an intricate chain reaction of domino’s falling that I’ve had to step back and say, “What the heck has happened?!”
We weren’t prepared.
But this is life. You take care of your parents when they need you. You take care of yourself however you can. You get out of the way or pick yourself up when the dominoes start falling and then you kick yourself and bang your head against the wall for not freakin’ being prepared!
I’m a headstrong person. I’m a solitary person. I’m an unprepared person. So a few weeks ago I found myself sleeping on my cousin’s couch because I had left The Indian. I was pissed at him for a few things. I wasn’t happy with the situation and felt the baby-making was no longer worth my happiness as a thriving, interesting, lovely, talented woman. So while he was still living in our flat that I found, I was on my cousin’s couch an hour away near Silver Spring, Maryland.
Where was I?
I was content to be near the family for which I’d left Prague to be near. I was safe. I was fed, cared for. There were kids to commune with. A dog to walk. Time with my mourning dad. Time to try to figure out what I was not successfully figuring out. All I knew was that I left the comfort of my flat and several jobs in Prague and now I was on a couch.
I’m resilient. I can take a lot. But one night, while scrunched on my side of the L-shaped couch with the dog at my feet crowding me and my younger 14-year old cousin snoring on his side of the L-shaped couch, I sorta lost it.
I’d been trying to wear my headphones at night, where I listened to my zen YouTube meditations on my cell phone. Gongs. Flutes. Rainforests. That sort of thing. My cell phone battery died. I was left with no defenses. I heard footsteps on the stairs. I knew what is was. It was my eldest cousin, who is a bit of an insomniac at 20 years old. For perhaps a week, she would come down each night for a snack. She was always wide awake, while I was clenching my teeth, gripping onto whatever fitful sleep I could muster to cage. The padded steps reached the kitchen. Where a light was flicked on. Yes, a light. That flooded into our adjacent living/bedroom. I’d pull my head under the covers. But it wasn’t enough defense for … the squeak. The squeak! The incessant squeak of the cabinet that housed the snack she so diligently needed each night. The squeak called out to me. It mocked me, laughed at me as it knew I was trying to sleep, even if my cousin was not as knowing. And then came more. The accomplices to the squeak. The shuffle of a box. The crickle, crackle, crinkle-crinkle of the plastic-wrapped honey bun. There would be the opening of the fridge for some drink to accompany the crickling honey bun. And then there would be not just the man-handling of the cherished honey bun, but then there would be the OPENING of the hard crickling plastic that encased the sugary, messy, ornery, mean, harassing honey bun. And sometimes there was another squeak and reach for a second honey bun. A menacing afterthought.
I was already on edge. Stress from my relationship. Stress from worrying about the fate of my widower dad, who was left with NO Plan B. Stress of my broke ass. I had this hairline fracture of a lava meltdown zigzagging it’s way through my body. I could feel it moving around and exploring new areas of my nerves. Sleep was the only way to keep it cool, to keep it from growing and I wasn’t getting any gosh darn sleep.
The crickling got louder in my head. It flamed the hairline lava fracture. I felt it zing through my toes, swirl and swivel through my intestines and up my esophagus to where it exploded. I was possessed. Amber light shot from my eye-sockets. I stood on my knees on my side of the L-shaped couch and lost it.
I was shaking with unfamiliar rage as I hissed, “I can’t sleep!! I can’t sleep! I CAN’T SLEEP!!!” then, trying to be polite, loving and family like, I quietly said, my voice quivering while I clamped my hands together, “I know this isn’t my house and I know you guys are so great to let me stay here, but is there any way you could not do what you’re doing? It’s the wrapper. It’s so loud. And, and, and the squeak!”
She stared at me, in semi darkness, quite stunned. “I’m sorry Auntie Peppur,” (they call me ‘auntie’ even though we’re technically cousins) “I can’t help that the cabinet squeaks.”
I burst into tears. The lava. The squeak. The crackle. I pounded my fists on the couch and cried. Hard. I whimpered, “But, I can’t sleep…I can’t sleep!”
My cousin quietly turned off the light. Not taking an eye off me, she retreated from my tantrum. I huddled into a fetus position. Clamped my eyes shut. In the darkness, I heard a quiet request, which sounded very much like Zuzu in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Shall I pray for you, Auntie Peppur?” It was my little cousin from his side of the L-shape. “Yes, honey. Yes. Pray for me.”
I learned later that he had sent a text upstairs to my sleeping Aunt (his Grandma) that read something along the lines of “Auntie Peppur is down here freaking out, what should I do?”
Now, of course The Indian and I had been baby dancing. Even though my dad had kept saying, “Please, Roni” (short for Peppuroni) “Please protect yourself.”
It was then, as my whimpers started to die down and after my cousin’s post-prayer (sorta-loud) “Amen” floated off to heaven, I ruminated on how much I hate honey buns. And then I wondered. This meltdown. It’s different. I rolled over and stared into the darkness at the ceiling. “I don’t think this is your standard PMS. Maybe I’m….naaah.”
I rolled back to my side.
As my cousin fell back into his rhythmic snore and the dog snorted and snuffled back into place to crowd my feet, I thought, “Is this? Am I…maybe I am. Pregnant.”
Holy bananas, life.