I wish I’d never been born. I wish I’d never been born. I say it like it’s a torrent washing over me. It has become my mantra. It has become my whole life. How can I describe the blackness that is not the color black? How can I describe the blackness that is this void? A blackness that has sucked away all that I ever was; all that I ever dreamed; all that I ever felt that was not pain.
I don’t know if it would be considered suicidal to wish you were never born. I suppose it could be so, but it just seems a whole lot, well, tidier in the end. The thing is, when I lay in my pool of sorrow and dread and chanted my divine understanding, my eternal damnation, my one and only form of solace, I never expected to discover that someone was listening.
Someone was standing on the crest of the precipice looking down on me, down on my crumpled, iconoclastic martyrdom; down on the twisted form of my idolatry, and he (everything was blurry, so it may have been a she) nodded their head as if in harmony with the apocalypse of my being and before I could even swallow I found myself hovering over my very pregnant mom.
Oh, how beautiful she looked, I considered in my hovering. How radiant and peaceful, rocking her swollen self with her propped up feet and feathered fan. I remember that rocker; the one my Grammy had passed to her; the one that had been made by the hand of a proud expectant Pa. I found myself doing something I had all but forgotten how to do. I found myself smiling.
I remember the song she was humming as she fanned with one hand and rubbed her belly with the other. That was the song she hummed when she used the same hand to rub my forehead. That was the song she hummed when she tried to hide her worry when I had the fever and she washed me down to keep me cool. That was the song she hummed when she hugged her arms and watched out the window, waiting for my brother to come home from the war. When he never did, she told me I was all she had now. All she had. I. Was. All she had.
There she was, telling the cat to get down from the pile of blankets on the baby bed.
I watched from my hovering as she ran her hand along the crib that would soon be filled and then that’s when she grabbed her stomach and fell to her knees. That’s when she gasped and I saw a look cross over her that I’d never seen before; a look of terror as she grabbed herself and a moan of pain came over the place that had been a smile just a moment ago.
Here I was, a witness to my unmaking. Here I was, the cause of it, too. That’s when I realized that I was not just me. I was not just myself, but I was my momma’s baby girl. Somehow not being here had just been my lot, my call, my decision, my understanding. Somehow, I had forgotten that I was not just my own, but that I also belonged to someone else. Someone. Else.
In my panic I knocked over a lamp in my unconscious. I ran as fast as I could backwards in my hovering. Backwards with a hope that I could somehow undo my undoing. Somehow unmake my unmaking.
All I could think to do was hold my breath, and the farther away I got from myself in my haze of understanding the more my entire being screamed a silent scream: Let me be!
I was confronted with a state of suspended regret. From the depths of my forgotten self I pleaded with the being that had witnessed my approximation of bewilderment to let me be born, let me be miserable, just don’t let that woman lying on that floor lose what she had been loving before she even knew me.
She loved me before she knew me, and better still, she loved me after she knew me, too.
And he listened (or maybe it was she), and Momma caught her breath and smiled with relief.
I, in my hovering, whispered: