It’s the start of another day. The girls have preschool today, so there’s no time to laze around in bed snuggling the baby. Instead I’m up and in the shower, and I’m so tired my eyes hurt. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror just before I hopped in and I could actually see that my eyes were sore. I’ll definitely need to wear my glasses today. I’ll definitely need a coffee.
I’ve turned the water up as hot as I can stand it. It feels glorious. This shower isn’t a shower at all; the water simply pours out and over my body, simultaneously relaxing and rejuvenating. I never want to get out.
Through the steam I see my toothbrush and the near-empty tube of toothpaste resting on the shelf. I haven’t had my breakfast yet, but if I don’t clean my teeth now I’ll probably walk out the door with fuzzy, unbrushed teeth. I reach out and pick up the toothpaste with my left hand, flick the top open with my right thumb, grab the toothbrush, squeeze out the paste. I do this every day, have done it every day for as long as I can remember, but today I am noticing how it feels. Today I am aware of the process.
I’m scrubbing my teeth. I never brush them too hard, because I live in fear of my teeth falling out. I try to be gentle. I take care to clean each and every tooth in my mouth. I brush my gums. I brush my tongue. I spit.
The white foam of the toothpaste is tinged with red. Blood. My gums started bleeding again while I was pregnant with Maurice, and they still haven’t come right. I should go to the dentist. I watch the paste and my blood dancing around the plug hole. They don’t mix with the water, they ride it like a kid on a boogie board. Eventually it washes down the drain, and as my blood-stained toothpaste disappears from sight, I remember…
I climb out of the car and realize that I was right, I’m soaked. I couldn’t tell while I was driving, it just felt warm, but now that I’m out in the cold night air I can feel that I’m wet. Drenched from the seat of my pants right down to the middle of the backs of my thighs. It’s not urine. Blood.
I enter the house quietly, creeping up the stairs to the bathroom. I don’t know where all this blood has come from. My hands are shaking. I undo the button on my soiled jeans, pull the zip down, and push them, along with my knickers, down around my ankles. I sit down on the toilet. My head feels like it’s full of helium.
I feel a rushing sensation, and something moves out of my body and splashes into the water below. I don’t know what the hell that was, but it came out of me and it was big. I stand on wobbly legs, turn and peer into the toilet bowl, but all I can see is red. Bright, dark, opaque red. I turn my head this way and that. I squint my eyes. I try to find the right angle, but it’s impossible. I can’t tell what’s in there. I don’t know what it was. I flush the toilet. Shower. Go to bed.
It’s morning now. I don’t feel good. My face is pale and I feel really empty and dizzy and weak. I see Mum. She sees me. She asks if I’m OK. Things aren’t good between us lately. I haven’t been good, but she still notices. She still recognizes that I’m not well.
“I think I might have had a miscarriage,” I say. My voice is as feeble as my body. I want to be honest for once. I want Mum to say something to make me feel better. I want her advice.
“Well you’d know if you were pregnant,” she says. She sounds angry. She sounds disgusted.
“No,” I say quietly. I didn’t think I was pregnant. I didn’t know if I was pregnant. I just know that last night something happened to me, and it seems like that’s what a miscarriage might be like. I don’t know.
Our conversation is over. I guess Mum didn’t know what to say to me after that. I guess Mum was just upset. I guess Mum thinks I’m stupid. I wonder if it was a miscarriage.