I think I’m going to write a bit more about my life, which you don’t have to read; it’s just that it is, as they say in what is now assuredly an obsolete expression, “my dime.”
I think I’ve mentioned this before: in April of 2006, I almost died. People sometime throw around that phrase willy-nilly but it was absolutely literally true in my case. During intercourse an artery tore and I almost bled out completely. The EMTs, police, and hospital workers all suspected (and seemingly wanted to convince me) that I had been raped, but I had not been raped. I just had really awkward sex in what the doctors concluded was a highly freak accident; I later found out that my case became part of their educational literature for new interns.
This was all, as you can imagine, a highly traumatic experience; and though it was of course not as traumatic for my partner as for me, it was traumatic for him. Because essentially, he almost killed someone with his dick.
Though our relationship was pretty casual before—to the point where it was hardly what you could classify as a “relationship”—we decided to deal with our mutual trauma by going steady and continuing to have sex as if “nothing happened.” And that was the operative idea: “nothing happened.” He didn’t almost kill somebody with his dick, and I wasn’t almost killed by his dick. If anything…perhaps it had all been a “happy accident.” Maybe there was some pot of gold on the other side of that rainbow waiting for the both of us.
Because I didn’t have health insurance at the time of this accident, my initial medical bills were upwards of 100K. My partner explained that since the actual injury happened on my body, he was not responsible for paying any of the bills.
Eventually, down the line, he gave me $300.
One of the downsides to having sex so soon after my accident is that I got an infection. So I went to ye olde gyno to get a battery of STD tests; no STDs, but yes a MASSIVE infection where I had the surgery.
When they gave me an ultrasound, they also found a small mass in my womb. I was told that I might be pregnant.
So I had to wait in the examining room for like 20 minutes for them to come back with another piece of equipment to confirm.
And I was just thinking like:
But if I was indeed pregnant, I knew I wanted to keep the baby. I didn’t feel I could count on my partner to really kick in to support the child outside of threat of lawsuit (after all, according to his logic the pregnancy was happening on my body, not his); but maybe I could just go away, perhaps to my family in Florida, and just raise him or her on my own.
After the additional test was performed, the doctor suggested that the mass in my womb was most likely, I quote, “a ball of snot.”
Things with my partner and me sort of disintegrated; I really saw him as a goofy friend more than anything else, and I knew he was seeing other women. At one punctuated moment of perhaps early midlife crisis, he did call me to make the following offer: he would fuck around with other women for the next decade or so, and then we’d get married when he was 50 because he was afraid of growing old alone.
I began casually seeing another guy that I had met at a comic convention—the venue, up to that point, where I seemed to meet most of my partners—and finally decided to officially end things with Mr. “Can You Wait Until I’m 50?”
I decided to tell him over dinner at the local Ukranian diner; but before I could, I felt a little sick in my abdomen and went to the bathroom. There, I had what looked like a slightly heavier-than-normal period…despite the fact that I was nowhere near my cycle for my period.
Years later, upon reflection and a little bit of online research, I figured that was probably a miscarriage.
I informed my soon-to-be-ex-friend-with-benefits that we were officially “breaking up” after we watched Jackass Number Two together back at his apartment. He wanted to fool around, but I said “no mac, I’m seeing this new guy now and that would not be the move,”
He was like:
Actually, he said that it was a real dick move on my part to fool him into thinking we were having a “date night” and then watch Jackass Number Two with him only for me to say I wasn’t fucking him that night.
I had basically “contaminated” Jackass Number Two for him for all-time.
Before we had started seeing each other, way back when, he had asked me to promise him that in the occasion I accidentally got pregnant with his baby, I would abort. So really: in the end, it was probably best that we split up. First I had considered keeping my maybe-baby; then I contaminated Jackass Number Two. There was no end to my treachery.
I have had distinct eras in my life when I really wanted to get pregnant. I have strolled into the kids section of ABC Carpet & Home and gazed longingly at the Boho onesies. But outside of the “ball of snot,” I never came close to getting pregnant. There were times were I really did try.
Sometimes I start to wonder if my accident, and the subsequent three months of infections, fucked up something up there. But this is all starting to be water under the bridge.
Me and my husband found Annie in the parking lot of TD Bank. It was about to rain, and she was this tiny but loud ball of fur running back and forth in a state of panic. I finally scooped her up in my bag and we took her home; though I was warned that she might not last the night on account of the fact that the kitten looked so sickly and flea-bitten.
I set her to sleep that first night in a little box with a towel in it in a corner of the bedroom. I know this sounds sort of cold, but I didn’t want her sleeping near me on the bed because I didn’t know what type of diseases & literal bugs she had; that would all be sorted when we finally took her to the vet the next morning.
When I woke up, Annie was on the bed and sleeping an inch or so away from me; one paw was extended and lightly touched my arm.
So she had managed to not only climb out of the box and onto the bed—but also somehow knew that I didn’t want her too close to me.
And so, six years later, she still sleeps there on that spot but of course closer.
Though we already had two cats, one day we decided to take in an “at-risk” foster kitten who was rejected by his mom and had subsequently lost the will to live. We were warned that there was a very likely chance he would die anyway—in fact, they were planning to put him to sleep—but I figured if Annie could make it, so could him.
He was an extremely small, bony black cat with a relatively huge head whom we called “Peanut.”
Peanut, to be blunt, did not want to live. He could barely lift up his head or walk. We attempted to hand-feed him with a syringe, but his mouth wouldn’t open and the formula would just dribble down his chin.
After the third day with no improvement, my husband made one last desperate attempt to feed Peanut—when I suddenly had a moment of intuition and told him to just stop it and give me the kitten.
I lay Peanut on my chest, and we sat like that for about ten minutes—my heart-beat next to his raspy breathing, my hand lightly resting on his bony back—until he died.
When I told my husband Peanut was dead, he let out this wail from deep in his chest that I’ve never heard from him before or since. As he made a motion to take the kitten off of me, I burst out crying & told him to leave him alone—and so Peanut lay there on my chest for some time longer until which point we finally put him in an empty pizza box & in the fridge.
The memory of Peanut was a sore spot for me for months and even years afterward. He didn’t want to live. He had lost the will to live. It was almost better and more humane, I figured, for them to have just put him to sleep at the vet. We were being idiots to think we could intervene. We should have never even tried. My thoughts were getting pretty dark over the entire thing.
I don’t really have a sort of snappy “this is what I’ve learned” way to end this post. Life is “funny,” I guess, and sometimes unpredictable. But there is a rhythm to it, an underlying structure to the narrative. I know that much.
All things considered: I did raise Annie.