It’s a shame that I’m not a poet, because otherwise I’d be endlessly writing about the beauty of babies and motherhood.
My tiny person, snuggled against my chest, as soft as an angel.
Even though this is my sixth baby, I’m still thoroughly amazed that something so beautiful came from me. This is what gives my life meaning.
One of the reasons why I withdrew from socializing was because I know that other people don’t experience the newborn phase in the same way that I do. My reality is full of sacred moments spent loving and caring for another human being, understanding the helplessness of babies and guiding them through the beginning of their lives. I can’t imagine anything being more important.
It felt too much like taking all of the worst traits of these characters and amplifying them into a sordid and depressing story. I very much didn’t want to do that.
But the idea has been niggling at me for months. It won’t leave me alone.
I’ve caved. Fine. I’m writing it.
But this is a very sordid and depressing story.
Master sergeant Hartmann wasn’t certain when he had first begun to notice the cleaning lady. Two years prior, more for the sake of politics than anything else, the General had declared that they were going to improve national security by limiting the soldiers’ access to the Suit, and a civilian was picked out of the Base’s janitorial staff to be the designated caretaker of the military’s top asset. It turned out to be a plain, mousy woman, who quietly devoted herself to the job then faded into the background as another functioning cog, and business moved on as usual.
Hartmann was by far the best at piloting the Suit. Although it was obviously alien technology, he had an intuitive understanding of how to operate it, and was consequently given all of the important missions. He had already been considered something of a hero due to his ‘bravery’ and ‘leadership’ beforehand, but the Suit had skyrocketed him to the status of a superstar. He was worshiped by those below his rank, and greatly respected by those above. It was unspoken, but everyone pinned their hopes of winning the war on his abilities, and he was more than willing to accept the mantle.
Yet, somehow, the moments he had spent basking in the adulation of a job well done melted away as the cleaning lady took up more and more of his awareness.
There were moments when it was comical to watch her, a slim 5’4” woman standing on a stepladder with a soapy sponge, contrasted against the 12-foot mecha that she rigorously scrubbed. However, when she worked on detailing the interior, it stung to realize that she was more intimately familiar with the Suit than he was. He felt like the interloper, good for a wild ride before the Suit returned home to its loving family. He never had the liberty to simply touch and examine the Suit, no matter how much time he spent inside.
To make it worse, the cleaning lady was completely unaware of him. Hartmann was attractive and muscular, with sandy blonde hair and sharp eyes, and took it for granted that women would preen and flirt as they competed for his attention. The cleaning lady, however, never smiled or brushed her hair behind her ear; her eyes slid over him as if he was any other uniform in a sea of soldiers. He had even bumped into her deliberately to see her reaction, but she had tersely apologized then skirted around him, never quite managing to raise her eyes to his face during the entire exchange. The other soldiers had snickered, and someone had said, “I guess you aren’t her type,” as Hartmann stared after her, his face hard.
That was two strikes against her.
In between missions, he kept an apartment off Base, and he liked to amuse himself by taking out a few of his buddies to pick up women at bars and clubs. The thrill of simply bedding them had vanished years ago, but he still got his kicks out of playing with them. He had developed a good eye for finding the ones that were attractive enough to be worthwhile, but still had the shadow of desperation that spoke of a willingness to do anything. That night, he imagined that he had the cleaning lady in his clutches, and pushed the woman to a level of filthy that he had never gone to before. Unsatisfied with how easy it had been to control and degrade her, he sent her away from his apartment with one of his friends, and from the way she giggled he knew that she was up for another round of debauchery.
Alone, he knew the folly of his fantasy. The cleaning lady was the sort who spent her evenings curled up with a book and a glass of wine – she would never be under his power.
So he watched her. He watched her clean his Suit, watched her love what should have been his, all the while knowing that she was untouchable. The cleaning lady was ranked above him, the master sergeant.
For my cheerful, light-hearted, postpartum reading, I decided on The Shining by Stephen King.
As my husband and I like to joke with each other, compared to the existential horrors we now call reality, nothing is scary anymore. LOL
In fact, the weird part is how open and honest the characters are about their dysfunctions, and no one calls social services on them or prescribes anti-psychotics. WTF?
This is the second Stephen King novel I’ve ever read (the other being Misery, which is also set in snowy Colorado), and I have to say that he knows how to suck the reader in; I don’t have to force myself to pick up the book. On top of that, he uses enough run-on sentences, interrupted paragraphs, and other random grammatical weirdness that I don’t find myself spacing out and skimming over the words without really understanding them.
The dialogue is corny at times, but since the book was written in the 1970’s, I think it’s more a reflection on that particular decade than anything else. It also annoys me that none of the characters seem to have any sense of self-preservation. It’s hard to feel bad for them when they were very much asking for it.
I know enough about violence that the climax is too unrealistic to be remotely scary.
Because of those existential horrors we now call reality.
Labor didn’t go as smoothly as I had hoped it would, but after some tears, determination, and the skilled assistance of my midwife, it ended well with a story to tell. I’m thoroughly enjoying my “baby-cation”, and everyone in our family is madly smitten with our tiny little man.
Basking in the warmth of a new life is the perfect way to celebrate May Day. 🙂
I have a much easier time telling when cats are going to go into labor than I do with myself, lmao. XD
I’ve been musing about which topic I should complain about in an effort to keep myself distracted, and I figure that I might as well keep with the theme: home birth.
It’s actually been a few years since I’ve had anything to do with the organized home birth community. While I fully support the idea that society needs to stop treating women like our bodies are defective, the per se group itself has been becoming increasingly “yuppie-fied.”
I stopped associating with them because of the pressure to include doulas and birth photographers, and they frowned heavily on my preferred setting of having just my husband and midwife present. If there’s anything I hate, it’s having a stranger tell me how to live my life, and I sure as hell don’t want to be surrounded by a crowd while I’m in labor.
Besides, hiring someone to take nudie pics of me is really not a lifestyle choice I want to make. I’m too private for that.
The problem with groups is that they all eventually devolve into “group think.” Women like me, who are seeking empowerment and personal choice, get pushed out of the way by those who want to flaunt themselves on Facebook, and they expect everyone else to be the same way. Giving birth should not be about who can shell out the most $$$ while getting ready for your close up, but a lot of people treat it that way now.
There is no right or wrong way to give birth. It’s okay to scream. It’s okay to feel terrified. You don’t have to eat if you don’t want to. You can move around, or curl up in bed. It’s one of the biggest experiences of your life, and it’s okay to claim it as being 100% your own — don’t surrender to someone else’s expectations of how you should behave. Don’t try to look good on camera. Just be you.
Thankfully, I have an old-school midwife who understands me.