I’m relieved I missed my chance at having you
Today I thought about your dimpled cheeks, the swollen paunch of a full belly from too much milk, and the midnight coos that morph into wailing demands to be held. I yearn for you sometimes. This . . . this right now moment, is one of those times.
I want to hold you, to feel your tiny fingers sweep over my eyelids, and search for the peace that lives just behind my eyes. I carry you in my dreams — to term — you are brought into this world smiling instead of crying.
“Such a happy baby. It’s a girl!” The doctor shouts. His nursing team whisks you away in the middle of my trying to digest I managed to bring another Black girl into a world that hates her before it even knows her.
I hear hurried voices stretched to their highest octaves as they seek out your weight. You are tossed and turned under luminescence and bound in cloths, swaddled to perfection. They lay you over my lactating breasts.
I am expected to feed you, to pour sustenance into your minutes-old body from a worn-out one and as hard as I try, I cannot.
I wake up from this dream. I lift my shaking body from my bed. I pat my way to the bathroom in the pitch darkness of my room. I find solace in a place that echoes and I cry. I leave my memories of you there.
To my unborn daughter: I am glad you are not here to see the shrinking in parts of this world — to feel constant pain when you don’t want to. I am relieved I did not lay claim to terror for you; an inheritance of depression — a gift you shouldn’t have to unwrap. I know you wouldn’t have liked it here. In fact, you would have hated it.
And I would layer myself in guilt.
Why would I give you red-inked skies, viruses that mutate into unstoppable killers, bigotry at every corner of the world, and poverty nestled under the beds of Have-not families waiting for their moments to have? I knew better. I know better.
But, I still want you.
I am not strong enough to settle into the reality of what this world would have done to you. I am not brave enough to say, “I did it! I gave birth during a pandemic!” or “I’m raising my child in the middle of the apocalypse!” I would steep in blame — fully saturated; bitter to the taste. No one would want me then.
So, did I do this for you or for me? I had a choice. I could have taken the chance of getting pregnant and not succeeding, at least, not naturally or I could have allowed fate to bring you here through tools of misuse sharper than the Devil’s tongue.
They said my body would fight me and I believed them.
It is normal for me to harbor some form of regret — natural to be reflective, but I will admit, I feel this deeply: I did what I thought I needed to and I ignored all urges to try for you. I ignored giving you a chance at life and seeing what my body could really do.
But when I watch the screaming mothers of murdered boys, men, women — all of them wrapped in our skin or hear the violent cries of sisters and brothers demanding justice or smell the lies that drip from the slits of our leaders’ mouths or learn of those believing a price is sufficient for a life, I am thankful I was too scared to take a chance on you.
You deserve better, much better. And this place . . . this world I call home would wolf you down in its fanged mouth and tear your flesh from your bones in five bites. Morsel-of-a-human-little thing: you’d be the perfect dinner. No one’s serving you up on a platter. No one.
My beautiful, unborn daughter. I love you and I am sorry I was too afraid to try.
But you would have hated it here. This, I know.
I have my space
you’ve made it this way
I see you
I love you
I’ll keep my distance
I have drowned myself in work — work that I love, work that makes me happy. And it is in the evening when night slithers its way in that I feel the pain of having loved so many years ago and lost. I know the heart is stronger than the credit we give it, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t take forever to free itself from pain.
And I am tired of waking up to thoughts of you, tired of feeling your lips pressed against mine, tired of wondering what you’re doing, how you’re doing, and if I still mean anything to you. I do and don’t want to be a factor. Why is it so hard? There shouldn’t be a plethora of questions on this subject. I should have a degree in broken hearts and delayed healing —
Love’s Recovery, 101.
You have moved on. You did so effortlessly and I am still steering a wretched ship that has no sense of direction without its captain. Throw out the life rafts. Man the exit points. I was bound to hit a few rocks along the way, but I am still out to sea.
Battered and unmanned.
I stare at my phone. I want to take a chance on sending you a text message but every alarm within me is set and red flags pop up whenever my fingers go searching through my contacts. Leave well enough alone.
And I do. I settle into the nightlife, ease myself into an escape route of books and words that are not my own, and remember that spells can be broken.
I am not cursed.
I am not cursed.
Originally published via Medium.
that I’m not good enough
and never will be,
not for you.
and I worry
will steal your heart
and you will let them
tamper, maim, break,
and destroy it.
and I worry–
after all that,
you’ll come for me
and I’ll say “Yes.”
and it won’t
matter because it