Day 12

One hour and thirty minutes awake no nausea! Praise God!

I went to an herb store a few days ago to find a magic cure for the queasiness. (There is no one magic cure. Even the seabands are fallible.) One of the women behind the counter was about a decade younger than me, and she said, “You know, a little toke of weed in the morning might work wonders.” Which may be true, but that’s not a thing that’s an option for me anymore, and stopped being one long before I got pregnant. But then the other woman behind the counter, who was older than me and had been pregnant and was one of those women who makes me believe that it’s possible to have a baby and still be cool in life, started talking to me about scent; how we associate these super smelling powers of pregnancy with horrible smells, especially in the city (and let me tell you sometimes this whole f-ing city just smells like garbage), but that also my new super power makes good smells better. Ahh, now this was a revelation. She poured some lemon verbena in a bag and held it out to me, and sure enough, bliss. I left with that bag, a bag of dried fennel, and a small glass jar of organic lavender shea butter. The woman swore by it; said she had no stretch marks.

I listened to her advice and yesterday got myself to the Botanical Gardens. At first I was only going to stay an hour; still making plans in a day like I’m not pregnant, like it’s a doable thing to pop over to the gardens, and then jump onto my bike to make it to the 4:00 yoga class, and then swing by the grocery store, shop and cook up a quick dinner. Yeah. Instead, I spent the first hour sleeping on the grass in the sun. Even then I almost raced off to yoga, but then my body’s new, much more assertive voice told me to stop being ridiculous and to go to the rose garden. Which I did.

I hadn’t known the roses would still be blooming. They were not in their full, flamboyant June glory. Their edges were tipped with brown, some hanging heavy off their branches, on their way out, shedding petals and blooms for the fall. I had come in June, walked with the crowds while holding a paper, pink parasol and celebrating my step-father’s birthday. Everyone was wearing their bright skirts and shades, shedding our winter skins for the summer that was now very close, nudging and weaving for chances to get close to the flowers. That was a parade of a day. This September sunday was much gentler, just a few of us visiting in the off season, coming by to see the quiet of the exiting.

I began to smell them, stepping in close, nose into the flowers, checking for bees. All of them were scented. Some smelled just like plant, and things growing; some were traced with scent, leftovers. I was still hazy from my sleep. The sun felt good. I reached the end of the row, and passed into an area of tall grasses, lilies, non-rose flowers, and then suddenly I was stopped by the most glorious of all smells. I paced in front of the area, reaching for a hidden rose in the midst, but it wasn’t that. I don’t know what to call it in fact, don’t know which plaque matched which flower in that tangle, but the scent was from this tiny vertical row, yellow-ish, cream-ish. I stayed, inhaling, walking away and back for the pleasure of returning to it. And finally the solid rock of “getting through the day” that I’d been walking around in cracked. My chest opened.  I cried. And felt fully myself for the first time in a week. Maybe longer.

I stayed until closing time; all the air a pleasure. The water lilies were in flashy bloom, and every one of them seemed to carry a good name for a daughter. On my way out, I walked one edge of the Japanese garden, sent into raptures by the pine, taking long slow breathes, indeed my own new drug to fill up on. A plant that looked like sage, with purple blossoms, turned my palms into rosemary scented wonders.

At the statues that mark the exit, I turned, gave a silent thanks, and then I did get on my bike, but wasn’t zipping anywhere. I just cruised the downward slope toward home, queasy as hell, and totally at ease.

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