When you were just a zygote
Last week, Mom reminded me of a phone call I had made to her probably right around one year earlier to the date. Martina and Antonio were in town for the weekend. We had just returned from our Pacific Northwest vacation just a couple of days before.
I had planned a tour of the PNW – Seattle, Vancouver and Portland via Amtrak. We couldn’t wait. I ended up going to the doctor a couple of days before our trip. Yep. I was pregnant. I was a tad bit sad. I told him that I had planned this trip to taste all the deliciousness the Northwest has to offer: coffee, sushi, oysters, beer and so on. All of the things you can not have if you are pregnant. In fact, I told him I was hoping to get pregnant on the trip.
At this point it would be amusing to reread those blog posts. I never threw up, but most of Portland was spent in the hotel bed. And one night I was certain our neighbor had come home drunk, left the tub running, and the entire hotel was going to flood. Otherwise I was pretty much a zombie, just like the rest of my first trimester.
I think I may have been six weeks pregnant, which might as well be two weeks, but pregnancy has it’s own set of rules. But it is way early and honestly too early to tell anyone. But I did because our friends in Portland were peer pressuring me to have a glass of wine. And I wanted to tell my mom before I told Henry’s parents.
So I’m back home from our trip walking into our bathroom, when I notice something that was BRIGHT. NEON. ORANGE. through our blind. Yes through the blind. What is that? I opened my blinds and there stood two giant palm trees. They were the most hideous things I had ever seen. One was orange and the other green. I had been so pleased with the beautiful new deck in our alley and improvements with the new restaurants. But what was this?
Later that night, Henry’s parents arrive. We tell them the big news, because they needed to know why I was permanently implanted in the couch. And that I would not be able to eat any smoked salmon nor Brie cheese. There were tears, mainly from Antonio, who like my mom, had given up all hope of being a grandparent. He wanted to record the very minute he heard those words.
Later, things turned a little sour. It was dark and, well, that’s when I discovered the matching running lights that dance across every fake palm frond. They crowded around the window laughing and excited. I think I heard the word beautiful, but I’m not pointing fingers. I shreiked in horror. I probably even cussed in front of them. Long story short, I lost it. LOST IT. And I did what any distraught pregnant woman would do. I went to my bedroom and called my mother. With my back to the window, of course.
She told me this weekend that she remembers exactly where she was when she received my call. She was driving up Rosebud Road close to Mother Shore Hill’s farm. She said she thought she was going to have to pull over. I was sobbing. It took me a full minute to catch my breath and assure her that no one was dead. Then it took me a couple of more minutes to explain that there were two palm trees outside my window that looked like massive highlighters. Plus you could see them through my brand new blinds, which I waited over two years to buy and are too big, so they’ve scraped all of the paint off my walls. Arggh… Another sore spot for me.
And the very worst part was the only bit of natural green that I can see are the ginko trees lining 5th Street. As corny as this sounds, I would look at them out the window while I wrote in my journal each morning. I’m from the country and now I face a dirty alley. Those leaves meant a lot to me. Now my one connection to nature was visually blocked by ORANGE. ORANGE. ORANGE.
I watched as the owners worked so hard to connect a cable and secure them in place. I thought we were in Chinatown, not Margaritaville! What do neon palm trees have to do with sushi? I even sketched a plan for a soothing Zen garden with white twinkle lights. I would love to eat sushi on the deck in our alley. But how could I dare? I had made such a fuss. I contacted our local community activist and neighbors. I prayed they would be stolen or blown away. I had my plan ready of some beautiful pots and bamboo. They are still there.
Carol drove her mom through the alley and she promised that my baby would LOVE the palm trees. Maybe so, but I never will and I still don’t. There is a new staircase built between the two of us. It helps me feel a little more disconnected. Lucy hasn’t even noticed them, except maybe she did last week.
The best line of this story comes from my aunt Karen. As soon as my Mom shared the story about my hysterical phone call, she said, “She’s not pregnant, is she? I know all the signs.”