Felix and I have been alone in Salt Lake City for a couple of days, while Michael flew to Chicago and back. We have done some errands and visited coffee shops, gardens and parks. Last night I took Felix out to dinner at our favourite Noodles & Co. I had a glass of wine with my meal. It was possibly the first time I had ordered a glass of wine for myself when no one else was drinking (I was going to say when dining alone, but I wasn’t). I felt the warmth of the wine tingle down my shoulders. Felix was blissed out. He sat in the highchair, holding onto the front of it, looking around at everyone and up at the lights, doing a slow happy jiggle, opening his mouth distractedly every now and again for me to spoon more food in. He’d already eaten up a good portion of the ciabatta roll, crumb by crumb. When I put some of his rice puffs on the table in front of him he pounced on them with delight. Felix, I said, I love you so.
But I have been feeling sad, too. Recently, three of my good friends lost much wanted pregnancies, one right at the end of the first trimester, and two into the second trimester. It is heartbreaking.
Tonight, at another Noodles & Co (there are plenty), ‘Are we human, or are we dancer’ came on the radio. It tunneled me back a few years, when it was one of the songs played in my yoga class at the gym. I would listen to it, and the other songs, and think of my friend Kate, who died for no good reason, when a truck ploughed into her bike. And here it was again.
I thought of Kate, who will never have a child. I thought of my friends. I thought of the little lost ones who lived such a short time and couldn’t get beyond life’s beginnings. I thought of the frail marks they leave on the world. The hearts they re-arrange. The beautiful name of my friend’s son, stillborn at 20 weeks. And my own little one, with no name but only a clutch of poems.
Outside the late autumn light flared in the trees.
Felix knew the answer to the song. He smiled and wriggle-jiggled and kicked his legs and danced.