5 months, 5 days

“Seeing you for the first time was…”

A trip. You were so small you didn’t look as though you could possibly exist. You had hair on your head, which was some kind of miracle. Your eyes were scrunched closed, and now I can’t remember if you were screaming or not, but there must have been screaming at some point. You were skinny, but you had fur. We were all anxious for you to start sucking on me. Were you getting anything? Yes, but it never seemed like enough. You slept and slept and slept. Until we tried to sleep. Then you woke up with your little protest cries, and I would say, “It’s okay, Teenie, it’s okay. Mama’s here,” and you would quiet down for a moment. I did this in my sleep over the span of what could have been minutes or hours.

The food at the hospital gave hospital food its bad name. Dad would never say it was bad. In my head I thought it was bad but didn’t want to claim it out loud for fear of being branded as negative, or for fear that the negative would start to bleed out and taint other things, even you.

I’ve hit a wall. I don’t remember anything else. There’s a scene in the Disney version of Alice in Wonderland where Alice is walking down a path in the darkness, and as she walks a dog or a broom or a dog-broom is sweeping up the path behind her. It then sidesteps her and sweeps the path in front, and Alice is left standing on a loan square in the darkness with no path in front and no path behind. That’s how I feel sometimes with my memory. The path behind me has all been erased or shrouded, and the path in front is unknowable.

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