I didn't exactly look forward to it. It was pain, a hard little nugget of discomfort that took residence in my abdomen and lingered there, making activities like sitting or stretching somewhere between annoying and excruciating. I never knew exactly when it would start, but I would get a feeling, and then suddenly it was there. When it came, the discomfort told me things were as they should be, like driving over a familiar bump in the pavement.
I showered, dressed, and prepared for my workday. It isn't exactly med school, but library work put me in contact with books and people who loved, or at least liked, them. But nothing felt right – it was as if everything I owned had shrunk a half-size overnight. Not tight, exactly, but not loose. I must take a walk after my tuna sandwich instead of buying a candy bar, I thought.
I got there and began the process of a new day. I flicked the switch on the coffeemaker in the break room, looked over the employee schedules, turned the lights on, set the thermostat, turned the building from a haven for ghosts into a living workplace where seniors would play chess or gossip quietly in the stacks, and students in love would touch fingertips while "studying". I tried not to think about doing this for the rest of my life. Instead, I just focused on each day, unwilling to consider the infinite.
I couldn't help thinking about the feathery stab that would tell me my biology was continuing its appointed rounds. It was definitely time – but of course, it was sometimes late. There was that time – but that couldn't be it – a three week ago sop to my mother's continued pleas to "do that online dating thing" because “I’m not getting any younger- and neither are your ovaries.”
She was right, but I had my life sorted in a way that appealed to me: a library science degree, my cat, my writing, and a job in a suburb. It wasn’t the family and grandchildren that my mother wanted. But it kept me from climbing the walls, and right now, I didn't want anything or anyone to interrupt it.
It didn't come as I unlocked the door, letting in the flood of desperate mothers who had been up all morning with antsy toddlers, along with the older folks who had probably scheduled their entire day around this 9AM turn of the key. It didn't come as I said “Hello,” to ancient Patty, “Good Morning,” to straitlaced Walter, and “Hi,” to moody Goth Victoria, come to reshelve and sort and catalog and unjam printers through our long day dealing with the public.
It continued to stay away into the evening, boiling nausea and the beginnings of panic rising inside me. My head pounding, I kept doing the calculations, how many days, thinking I could make the answer come out differently.
It couldn't be that, I thought.
published 27 July 2011
published 27 July 2011