Thursday, December 11, 2008

cabin fever                                                            
Our driveway is made of soft grey gravel and winds a seeping, steep serpentine up the hill to our house. On one side is a wide ditch lined with smooth round river rocks, each the size of a small cantaloupe. When the rain pours down tiny raging rapids course beside us as we navigate our way home. In the summer the ferns are lush and verdant and thick, hip high and dense, they quiet everything else around them. In the fall the maples are red and orange and brazen and the white tail grow fat and easy from the green meadows behind us. Our house is lovely and warm and spacious. It's big and beautiful and more than I ever thought I'd come home to.

This is where and what I wanted. This is where I wanted to be. Worn out and weary from the city I couldn't have stayed in New York. No matter how lovely the apartment, no matter how great the view, I felt claustrophobic and imprisoned, every day was like clawing for oxygen. My preceptors all shook their heads, asked me if I was certain, reminded me how much promise I had, a calling as it were for dense and complicated pathology, the messy kinds of medicine. 

So we arrived, filled with the promises of Ivy League provisions and low key country living. And it's quiet. And beautiful. And lonely. And there are no jobs for me in the enormous Ivy League hospital. And, just like that, all of that potential quickly becomes nothing of utility as I settle instead into a tiny practice to discuss hypertension and cholesterol, driving for hours on an empty interstate, counting the headlights of every passing car. 

I find myself staring at women, openly wondering if we could be friends. I latch on to irrelevant signifiers: the shoes they are wearing, the kind of bag that they carry. About a week ago I saw a young mom with blonde hair in two short braids, a powder blue beanie and Uugs. She had rosey cheeks and a shoulder strap messenger bag and as she stood in line before me to order her children muffins and hot chocolate, I felt the rising urge to tap her on the shoulder, ask her name, because she was the first person I'd seen in months who wasn't twenty years older than me, wearing pleated pants or sporting a mullet. 

I wanted to come here, needed to come here. It was here in Northern New England, Boston, or New York. I couldn't have stayed in the confines of all that noise and concrete any longer. I couldn't have raised children who don't know how to climb up a tree, marvel at bugs or have stood out in the undiluted darkness of night, looking up at the stars. But this is more and less than I expected and once more I am struggling to fit in. Sometimes I feel like a stubborn mistress, tenaciously tending a half-broken heart, insisting, always, on calling Santa Cruz home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

some kind of gratitude                                                                       

I just ate two pieces of pizza. And they tasted almost ... normal. I even added in a few sips of coke. I didn't have to run to the bathroom to furiously scrub the taste of poison out of my mouth for almost ten minutes. 

I've lost all of the two pounds I'd gained last week. Hard to say if it was the in-laws, the 118 consecutive hours of cooking that took place in our kitchen, the turkey that was brined in an unholy concoction of maple syrup or the two days of undigested food I finally vomited up in the bathtub. 

I want to write that I'm finally feeling brave enough to accept that I hate being pregnant, but looks on people's faces when I even allude as much stops me short in my tracks. Maybe if I were back in New York or home in California I would have the fortitude to be so bold. But here in strange and uptight New England, where most women wear sweater sets with christmas wreaths pinned to their left breasts and matching reindeer earrings, I duck away and turn my head, quietly accepting their oh pumpkin, you'll feel better any day now I just know it!

I never expected to miss my broken down little hospital so much; a place where I could turn to basically anyone and say this fucking blows and they'd be all, oooooh child, you think this is bad girl? Wait 'til you try to push that shit out your cooter. You ain't seen nothing yet.