Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let's call it home

I come home and I dont take off my coat because its too cold indoors. I rub my chin and feel the tiny coarse hairs I have to tweeze every day now, and I wonder about my hormones. I will find out this month if I have entered early menopause or not and if that is the reason that more than a year's worth of syringes sperm-filled hasn't gotten me pregnant. I mean, maybe I am optimistic, maybe it will take more than a month to find out. I am not trying tp find out everything I can about this, I have spent too much time in skeptic, concerned, frentic HIV research mode to dive into fertility mode, I know I need to be informed, but not just yet.

Anyway, I dont really want to be pregnant. I mean, I do want it, but I don't really want it, not with my salary as low as it is and my contract about to expire, not with this crisis, not with the shitty rental property market and this cold apartment, not with my rusty bike as a vehicle, and especially not without any sort of social or employment benefits whatsoever here in the Netherlands (or anywhere else for that matter), maternity leave notwithstanding. I do want to have an adorable baby who will sit in a sud-filled bucket, gurgling. But I am not even sure a baby not old enough to speak can sit in a bucket without hurting himself. I don't know much about babies at all, maybe because since I had the abortion (and before that) I had never concieved of my ever having a baby as a plausible thing. I knew I didn't have it together enough to be a single mom, and the family way seemed unlikely, even pre-HIV. It was just a heartwarming picture that I saw online, and the baby was Ugandan, so there was no choice really but washing him in a bucket. And the article said that "down there" people don't have soap, so they usually rub their skin with stones in whatever body of water they have access to.

Im thinking of Africa a lot these days, not only but mostly because of my friend in Zimbabwe and the horror that trickles out of there. Everytime I worry about anything in my own life, I think of hospitals with handwritten notices telling visitors not to leave their corpses of their relatives on the premises, and rusty cots serving only as gurneys transporting the living dead from the hut or the shed or the street itself to a hole in the ground. I think of gaping storerooms and corridors devoid of any doctors, and of people avoiding embraces in the funerals, because of the plague. This time this plague is cholera, but the plague is anything that makes humans so greedy and mad that they would trample others for profit, and each time it manifests in something else. HIV is part of it, but HIV is not it, as far as I can tell. A grandmother feeding cow feces to starving grandchildren and causing them to die, that's a manifestation of the plague as much as any bateria. Not only in Africa. Everywhere we see it. In Chinese children sleeping on piles of denim while their mothers are smothered daily, nightly by chemicals used to give denim that used, "worked in" look, tearing behind improvised denim surgical masks and the air buzzing of trillions of tiny jean-blue particles, that's a symptom. I am probably wearing something made like that right now, but I won't again. I'm not going to do something that I know is bad, ever again, not if I can help it. Not until I have a child and forget my priorities in an urgent haze of need and love.

I should write something about the wedding. Those were a wonderful two weeks, I was a nervous wreck but it was worth every sleepless night and pinched nerve and stress headache, of which there were plenty, maybe tomorrow I'll be able to write about it. I shouldn't keep mixing the bliss and the horror like this, but this is how it happens inside this one person, anyways. It will take me some time to find my married voice I guess. Its pretty cozy here though. Not enough for a baby, but good enough for me, by far.

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