After breakfast and I was ass on toilet seat, inches above water, one butt cheek pulled up to the right, one to the left. My white broomstick skirt with red paisley designs pulled up around my waist, white tank top, bare feet.
     It didn’t help the constipation.
     It had to be constipation, the pain in my gut. I’d gained weight, thirteen years old and 132 pounds, Mom nagging. I’d been on the Protein Only diet but it wasn’t working. Dieting but gaining weight anyway, and I needed to get the shit weight out of me before my self-imposed bedtime weigh in, because scales don’t allow for shit weight.
     So I fell back to hurting myself, something I learned to do to let go of the stress, to feel some of the pain on my skin instead of letting it eat up my brain. Like the joke my sister Zoe told me – “Guy goes to the doctor and says his hand hurts, the doctor stomps on his foot and says, “Does that take your mind off it?”
     That morning, in the blue bathroom, it was scissors.
     The silver scissors I used to cut my toenails, curved scissors with the sharp sharp tips. Silver metal bowel relief. Scissors opened and one silver tip against my left wrist and I scratched. Back and forth along a path above a vein that’s next to a tendon that’s barely covered by my mega-pale skin. Two inch long scratch, give or take, the skin red, opening up. A small cramp in my intestines that meant something was moving. Meant the scissors were working.
     So I kept scratching. Slid the silver sharp tip, a claw created between my thumb and index finger, along the path over over over. The skin bled, small drops, the sting that should be in my wrist was in my gut, shivers that meant things were coming along. The blood drops piled up on my skin until one red blob gave in to gravity and slipped around to the top side of my wrist and slow dripped onto my red and white skirt, another drip joined it and another.
     No shit. Just rumbles and pain and I pushed my bowels down hard, straining masses inside of me looking for a drink of the cool water beneath me, and when I stopped pushing, the strain slipped back up into my stomach like reverse eating, filled me back up to full. My face covered in sweat, my hands covered in sweat, the scissor handles covered in sweat.
     Shitting was never supposed to be this hard.
     I pushed more silver metal into the top of my blue vein, but the vein wasn’t visible anymore, the red of blood pooled above my pulse, thump thump thump. The scissor edge slid, back forth back forth. More red. The scissors wet with sweat or blood or both and the need to push came and the pain cut up my stomach, into my chest, the pain in my arm nothing compared to the pain in my gut. My hand slipped, dug that silver point too deep into my arm. Blood splattered on the white tile, on the dark blue bathroom walls.
     And I needed to shit reallyfuckingbad.
     One sharp pain, a slice into my stomach and through my bowels and into my vagina and out of my body. I tried to hold my voice, focus on the silver metal and the blood and the dark red puddle by my foot.
     But a scream came out.
     Loud and high. Almost a growl. And was that really me?
     Then Mom slammed open the bathroom door, mouth open, ready to yell, and why was she there because it was Friday and wasn’t she supposed to be working? But I was breathing too hard to ask.
    Mom stopped. Looked at me on the toilet. Stood there for something like three seconds that lasted two years and she turned away. She left me there alone.
     I dropped the scissors, sagged against the toilet lid, and yellpledbegged, “Mom!”
     And tears, there were tears, salt and wet and tears and sweat and “Mom!”
     Pain ripped through my gut and my arm. Blood came out of my arm, onto the floor and the toilet and the counter and my clothes and so damned much blood and “Mom?”
     And Mom came back in. She didn’t leave me there alone, didn’t run away when I needed her, didn’t hate me for slicing myself open, for gaining weight, for being a miserable fat loser excuse of a daughter. She didn’t leave.
     She grabbed the white hand towel off the rack and pushed it onto my arm, didn’t say a damned thing to me, just grabbed the towel and applied pressure like you’re supposed to when someone cuts their wrist with toenail scissors while trying to poop.
     The towel was soaked through by the time the ambulance arrived.
     I was still in pain, still hadn’t got that shit out of me, when the two ambulance guys put a bandage on my arm and asked me to stand. I pushed against my feet, but my legs were Gumby legs. The two ambulance guys lifted me off the toilet, the seat all drippy red and how did I get so much blood there? They laid me onto the white tile floor, looked down there where no one is supposed to look, and all I could think was that they’d see my poop.
     The first guy’s voice was so normal. “She’s crowning.”
     The second guy, also normal, “I’ll get the gurney.”
     The shit pain sliced through my gut again and I screamed, which I didn’t want to do. But Mom was right beside me, her hand warm on my forehead, on my cheek, and why I was so cold I don’t know.
     “You need to try and not push,” the first guy said from between my legs.
     “I need to poop,” I said, my voice trying for rational-normal, but coming out panicked.
     “No pushing,” he said.
     There was talking going on around me, but I couldn’t focus on the words.
     I focused on the cold tile against my bare butt, and Mom’s face warm against my face, her voice a mumbled squish of words to comfort me. I focused on the bandage on my arm soaked through red and drippy, and fuck I had to shit.
     “I need you to –” and the pain again and the ambulance guy right there and, “Get out!”
     My whole body tensed with the need to get the shit out of me, to get the man away from where I was about to poop all over him, and he wouldn’t move.
     Mom made these shh noises, her face wet next to my face, my face turned away from her without my thinking to, and it felt like there was a butcher knife slicing up the middle of my stomach.
     The ambulance guy dug in his bag and came out with his own pair of scissors. And what the hell was he doing? He took in a breath, looked up at me.
     “I need to cut an episiotomy so your baby can be delivered.”
     “My what!” I said. “I’m not –” but I couldn’t finish what I was saying.
     He fiddled around down there and the pain sliced up my stomach again. There was a swoosh kind of feeling and the pain stopped. My body empty and relaxed. The pain of all of it was just gone for one of those single, perfect seconds, and I could breathe again and I didn’t need the silver scissors to do it.
     That’s how my daughter was born on the white tile floor of my Mom’s blue bathroom on top of a puddle of blood from my cut arm. Her little body was covered in white goop when it slid out of my body and it looked so incredibly gross....

chapter 1 - Friday, September 30, 2012

Copyright @ Sally K Lehman. All rights reserved.