It rained heavily last night after a very hot day. I am curled up in my bed listening to the sounds of dripping water feeling the wet air coming through the window. Inside of me, deep in my belly and sometimes in my chest and even in my throat is this smooth cold dark heavy stone. I am trying to accommodate it as best I can while I am thinking of how lucky and happy her life has been so far, my daughter with the golden hair and the laughing eyes.
Remember, I say to her over skype, how you were twice within minutes, hours of death and how calmly we all knew you would pull through and how you had looked at me with your wide baby eyes full of concentration and trust? But of course, she cannot remember her birth or the time when she almost died of meningitis.
And remember the dangerous escapes we have had, from dodgy planes with bombs discovered onboard after a safe landing, or coming down the hairpin bends in paradise one heavy monsoon rain day when first the wipers gave in and next the breaks? And you in the back in a car with no seatbelts or doors?
I know her life has been so happy, I know it because it shows: in her eyes, her smiles, her chuckles and her sharp remarks, the way she observes the world around her, makes friends and adapts to every new situation. Whatever unhappiness and even personal hell she has had, she knows that is all part of the deal. And I know that.
Remember the time right after we moved to the house?, I ask her. All that winter you were hiding inside your dad's big red winter anorak. I would watch you walking home from the bus stop, all skinny legs and lanky hair huddled up in this oversized bag of a coat with your hands hidden inside the sleeves, trodding along, eyes to the ground and your shoulders pushed down by your schoolbag. And all I could do was watch you and hug you and wait for you to leave this cocoon, which of course you did, eventually.
When I was around that same age I would sit in my father's car on my way to school in the mornings, dozing in the back and listening to the car radio. That was long before iPods or even tape decks and there was no debating the station my father had picked. So I would listen to big bands and what we called movie music, soppy stuff warbling on with violins and simpering choruses, but once in a while there'd be Roy Orbison or the Carpenters or even Leonard Cohen and every morning I waited with expectation and increasing certainty for those gems.
So this is a bit how I feel at the moment, waiting through the dreary bits, for the next gem to pop up.
I looked up the website of the hospital she will go to for the surgery and I find comfort in every thing I see. At least they did a great job with the web design.
And, as it is the case so often, I suddenly meet women who have had that exact diagnosis and surgery years ago, not a bother, fine since and a couple of the medical staff have come forward with reassuring expert talk and latest statistics from renowned oncology studies.
Of course there is a voice inside my head hissing away: not fair, she is so young!
Yes, the drama of it, hence the stone in my belly.
Here we are, this is life, we take the next step. You are in my heart, my wonderful wonderful girl.