Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Spiral Staircase Part 4: I Don't Even Know Her.

My Dad reads about my drowning in the last chapter and says its a metaphor for depression.
I say maybe.
Another relative emails that she remembers the story.
Maybe she heard it told at family gatherings.
Maybe she was there.

It's a mystery.

For now, at least. And I'm OK with that.

Meanwhile Mom reports that Abuelo is lost in the story. Is this still about Cuba,  he wants to know.  She tells him yes, just wait. She knows just where I'm going, she sees it on the horizon.

We are almost there.

So back we go, upsides down and backwards. 

If I remember correctly -- and my fashion memory is usually impeccable, I remember what I wore when I met someone, when I went somewhere, it sticks forever -- at next therapy session I show up in a black polka dotted dress. This is a huge change from my graduate school standard dark loose hooded sweatshirts (even in the summer) and size 6 jeans.  No big deal that my size 6 jeans felt a little tight and the dress was a size 8. It looked good, it felt right. I ate a little more. I felt lighter.

I'd started to gently let let go of a wordless burden that didn't serve me in becoming who I was intended to become.

 I couldn't both hold on to something and be open to something new, something better. It was like a kid was being coaxed from holding a dirty ragged piece of  old battered blanket and being given something valuable like a suitcase full of empty journals or new shiny black shoes.

The universe - or my brilliant therapist? -- had my attention because suddenly I felt like I lived in a bigger brighter place. There seemed to be something more interesting to do than think about than how rotten I felt about myself and my corner of the world and how sad I was, how wrong everything seemed.

Again I went right to the chair, ready. She turned on the white noise machine and we got to work. Now that I look back on it (now that I let myself look back on it)  I wasted a lot of time with her in chatter.  Finally whatever was supposed to happen was happening.

The cute dress was icing.

My therapist counted me backwards, down to the quiet.  She led me into the dark peaceful place then turned on the lights.

This time, she didn't ask me to look for a hallway.

This time, she asked me where I was, and I knew what she was doing by changing the question and told her and we laughed so hard. I was still me, I just didn't feel that awful dread of being trapped in this skin.

She leaves me to silence while I look around wherever it was that I found myself.

I see gauzy curtains barely blowing by the window next to my bed.

The air is stale. There are two women bent over in old angular leather stiff chairs, there.  I am in bed. Definitely in bed.

The doorway is tall with a transom over it. The walls were plain, austere almost. The furniture thin, beautiful.

I know this place, I recognize it in the corner of my mind but I have no names for these faces.

Tell me what you see, she finally asks, and I tell her.

They are my daughters, they are so tired, it's been days now they've been here waiting. The windows behind them are high, tall, narrow. The bed is high, too.

I'm so tired I can't take a deep breath.

You can breath, my therapist reminds me, and I keep breathing, now.

Keep talking, my therapist coaches and I do, to myself, to her, so I would remember.

The baby, I just had a baby.

 I cry with the words then fall back into the silence  remembering the room being still and humid.

I try to move and turn and find a cool spot on the bed but the thick air holds me down.

I had a baby, that's why everyone is so sad. So bittersweet. This is when I leave, and she just got here.   I don't even know her.

My therapist prods me again to tell her her, to narrate.

This is where I have to let go, I say out loud, and then I feel it, like a rubber band being pulled to shoot off.  I can't stop it. I feel my chair start to spin and remember the bed spinning like that. Not fast, but deliberate. Like unspinning from where I was sent, back home.

The story ended there.

I don't know if this story fit perfectly into 55 minutes of therapy or if she started to end the session early because I was crying so hard.

That was something, I said to my therapist and she nodded, a little teary herself. Yes, something.

I left the room walked down the concrete steps to my car and turned it on.  The  air conditioning was broken so a blast of hot air shot at me from the vents.  Part of me wanted to race off and get something cold to drink but I sat there, in the heat, and let myself think it through.

Then it hit me like I remembered the end of a dream.

I turn the radio on in my hot car and out blasts that song, The Circle of Life. I laugh. It's a coincidence. There are no coincidences.

Everything feels like the end of a mystery movie where the pieces fall together and everything and everyone looks a little different.

I call Abuela from my car phone, the one I only had about 100 "primetime" minutes for and had already used because I didn't understand the concept of "primetime" minutes.

Whatever this call cost, it was worth it.

She answered Hallo.
Abuela, I said, listen. 
What. What 'chu want? she replied.

I just went though this thing, I can't explain, but Abuela, remember how your Mom died right after you were born?

She answers me with silence.
Who expects a call like this?
In the middle of the day?

Abuela, I know this is crazy, but wouldn't it be hilarious if I'm your Mami?  What do you think about that? 

She laughed.

I can't tell you how much she understood, if she understood, or if she thought I was just playing a two-year-old game, but her answer was a delightful, "Maaaammmmiiiiii! Te quiero!!"

We laughed. I healed.