"What are the flowers for?"
“My friend gave them to me to cheer me up.”
“Why did you need cheering up?”
“It’s been a rough week for several reasons. It began with me crying while reading a poem in front of a bunch of people.”
“What was the poem about?”
“It was about my best friend attempting suicide in my house, then me having an abortion a few years later, then that same friend successfully committing suicide, then me getting pregnant. It’s sort of my reflection on the cyclical nature of life. And how we are a lot more connected than we understand or admit. The poem is titled: ‘I realized last night that, for the first time in my life, I am finally really willing to be an organ donor.’
Sweet sixteen One summer afternoon, about out the door for family dinner at Outback Steakhouse. Went to check on my bestie Jenie, staying with me for the summer, kicked out of her own house again, one more time. I had a feeling. Are you sure you don’t want to come with us? I said, peeking into the top bunk of my little brothers bed. No response. Motionless, unconscious. I ran to my auntie, doctor frances, downstairs. “She’ll be okay,” said doctor frances. We called the ambulance anyway. “She’ll be okay, “said doctor frances, again, after they wheeled Jenie away on a stretcher. Jenie went to icu, had her stomach pumped, went to rehab after that.
We pretty much pretended nothing had happened.
Time passed. Lots of things happened.
One winter afternoon, the ripe age of 22, my mom dropped me off at a portland clinic, 10th floor of an office building. “babies are expensive,” my single-father boyfriend had said. i took his word for it, and took the valium and the vicodin from the nurse, listened to them read me quotes from other girls in my condition about how happy they were with their choice. I lied back on the table, sucked in the nitrous greedily as the doctor sucked out my “unwanted growth,” as they called it. “youre so calm, ” the doctor said to me. They sent me to a “recovery room”- and lying in the bed, looking at the poster of the Eiffel Tower at sunset on the wall above me, and the rainy grey oregon sunset sky out the window beyond, I knew I had just given away any good karma I had gained by saving my best friend’s life 6 years before.
A January evening in Istanbul, on the couch, totally stoned on afghani hash with my second Turkish boyfriend, I picked up a phone call from old friend Melinda, now married with 2 kids in Spokane Washington. She sounded far away. I knew something was weird—we hadn’t talked in years. “Dane went back to Vegas for a few days to finish a job,” she began. Dane, Jennie’s high school crush , and new husband. “Jenie stayed in portland, in their new house with their two dogs. When her dad went over to say hi, check on her, he found her in the garage, in the front seat of her 4 runner. It had stopped running by then— run out of gas.
The dogs are okay, though.”
I couldn’t afford to fly back for the funeral. My little brother stood in my stead, scattered some flowers on her casket.
And now, here I am at 31, 37 and a half weeks pregnant. Round 2.
from march 4th onward, This new life inside me, a whole second self, spontaneously generating, it seems, organizing itself around some miracle principles. I felt it from the very beginning, the very moment of first meiosis.
Really, like a veil dropped, or lifted, or something. I was walking across a field at a spa outside Poughkeepsie and I felt the shift. It was wild.
Life is wild. Death is something else.
So I’d like to take this opportunity to declare
I’m finally willing to be an organ donor. I never was before. but i can surely say if it comes down to it I am ready to give the pieces of me to others. Take my kidneys, take my heart, take my myopic eyes
The lines around the self, the borders between you and me aren’t as obvious as they may seem
We are all connected. Some more obviously than others
So please, Take what you can from me
Bury the rest at sea, someday
It all comes back around eventually.