Sunday, May 18, 2008

Beginnings and Endings

I don’t know if it was seeing my dad in the hospital on my way out of town, not speaking to another soul for 48 hours, or pushing myself so hard to write all weekend, but I had a bit of a breakdown on my way home today.

After driving in silence for about a half an hour I wanted to stop thinking about this damn book for awhile, so just as I hit the winding mountain road I reached into the console, fished out a random CD, and plugged it in without looking. I was surprised and delighted when a song I had not heard in nearly five years started; it was a favorite of mine in 2003, an indie that never played on the radio, and one of the songs on to the CD I’d had Scott make for our second baby’s delivery.

Unlike the birth of Juliet, which turned into a trauma situation and is scrambled eggs in terms of a memory, the second birth I remember vividly. Because of the size of the baby’s head vis-à-vis my anatomy I was scheduled for a c-section. Once in the operating room, I recall handing the CD to the anesthesiologist who could not hide his disdain as he took it from me as if it were a dead mouse. These overindulged Ashland women, I could hear him say to himself.

I remember the room filling with my favorite music, I remember Scott by my side and my good friend and surgeon Jani at the helm. I remember Hank as they pulled him out, screaming and glorious. But what I remember most—and best—about that day was later, when we were back in the room. All was quiet; Hank was tucked under my arm like a loaf of bread and Scott was getting ready to make the calls. Then I remember how his always strong and unwavering voice broke as he told his mom it was a boy. Crushed by the weight of new love.

So this song, playing nearly five years later, took me back to that moment so fully and vividly that I had to pull off. Overlooking verdant hills covered in patches of purple and yellow wildflowers, I lost it. I cried like I hadn’t cried in years.

Then unexpectedly from this mess of emotions that I’d just spilled onto the roadside, the ending to my novel floated lightly into my mind. I reached for my laptop, fired it up and wrote the last page before the thought could fly away as quickly as it had come. It’s not all that profound or magical but it's perfect in that it is exactly how I wanted it to end but had not, until then, figured out how.

Odd that the memory of my child’s beginning begat my manuscript’s ending. A weird day, for sure.

1 comment:

Wyman Stewart said...

Glad that day turned out well. Read this thinking it would be something else, but I think this is the most "human" side of you I have seen so far. Thanks for posting this. I think it is amazing myself that the past often meets present as though part of a life plan that is more exact than we can ever imagine.

Thank you for this post. I am surprised there are not lots of comments here. Maybe it is a subject too hard to comment on. Best of luck in your life, fellow human being.