Sunday, June 14, 2009

An Event That Changed My Life

I participate in a writers workshop. I joined two summers ago. It's been the same core group-with some floating in and others floating out-long before I joined.

Every Monday morning we meet at Norm's house and sit at his dining room table which is a special round table that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century-and one that has etched names and drawings on the oak top. Legend has it was the round table to a progressive group of thespians who resided in Chicago over 100 years ago.

The table is magical and the stories that effuse out of us during our workshop seem channeled from it's creative soul.

Each Monday morning we are given a prompt. One cold February morning with nearly 3 feet of snow outside, we were given the prompt, "An event that changed my life". The passage below was my response:

After the news settled in and after I knew there was no way I could end-deliberately end-her life at just 21 weeks, a funny calm settled into me.

I've always welcomed change and yearned for adventure. It was all how you chose to look at it I thought. This too would be an adventure.

"Your child, the baby you're carrying...she has a very rare and serious heart defect."

The doctor continued in hushed tones. Speaking in a language that was completely foreign to me; pulmonary atresia, pulmonary stenosis, double outlet left ventrical, dextrocardia...

The risks and complications, however, were words I understood.

The diagnosis, spoken by a rather handsome Boston cardiologist sprayed my soul like shrapnel. Some pieces of the information settled deep within me. Still others bounced off. I imagined the phrases 'feeding tubes' 'heart transplant' and 'heart failure' laying on the ugly grey institutional carpet in the tiny consult room in the hospital.

Paul and I left Boston numb. Quietly, without speaking a word to each other we snaked through the Fenway traffic. The moon-huge and full-late October-a Harvest moon-beamed down on the Red Sox fans. Later, we would give that Harvest Moon to our baby in the form of a name. Luna, Goddess of the Moon.

The air was thick and warm. The city vibrated. Game 2 of the World Series, Boston vs. Colorado. I stared at the 20-somethings skipping and yelling in the streets. With my window open all the way, some of the revellers nearly brushed me as they skipped past the car, yet I felt a million miles away from it all. I was a tourist, riding a tram, viewing American History comfortably from the darkened museum-or so I felt at that moment.

"This baby will be the best thing that happens to us", I thought, as we pulled on to the express way.

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