Some moments I see myself, and I wonder if I am overreacting. Everybody loses people. Sometimes in worse ways - frequently in worse ways. Shouldn't I be past this? It's done. Shouldn't I be functional?
Your baby is dead. It was years ago. Your life has moved forward, sometimes without you. Get over it. Catch up. WAKE up.
But then I think.
If I can survive without her.
It's like she doesn't matter.
If I stop talking about her, thinking about her, obsessing over her, she won't be a part of my life anymore. I will invalidate her by breathing when she isn't. By living when she isn't. By smiling, occupying space, fighting for my needs, confiding in people, feeling happy, I stamp out her memory.
By not telling people about the date tattoo on my ankle, I lie.
By saying I have two children, I lie.
By saying I am happy.
And should it really be this way? Is my life so ruined? I'm here. But I'm not here at all.
I'm on the wrong train. Speeding along as time chugs and spins, every minute taking me further away from those few days, weeks, moments we were together, whether I want to acknowledge, heal, or dwell.
A man walks into the shop and past Derek and I on the couches. He speaks over the counter to Jeremy about the tattoo he wants to get. A footprint from the hospital. Stillborn. The artifacts from a life missed, a body on the wrong train. That mark in the skin, that small and audacious link, that tiny effort to connect across the dimensions, to keep the family together, to keep a baby with you when you never got to hold them.
I start to tap my phone. I flip it against the back of my hand. I stare at the sidewalk through the window.
I am thinking about those hours in my car, within sight of the front door. Unable to go in, lost and unsure of where I wanted to be. Wondering if I had the strength to go inside when I didn't want to.
Derek pops me on the arm with his drawing pad. Says hey. Gestures to the screen.
I don't have to say anything. He knows what I'm thinking about. He knows I need to watch The OA on Netflix. Come back to the train.