His Name Is Adam
It hurt. Oh, lord, it hurt. Like a white hot knife searing into my abdomen. Impossible to ignore kind of hurt. I focused on the chrome drawer pull on the acetate cart someone had wheeled into my line of sight. Its patina was long gone and there was a small piece of rust on the side. I ignored the round white lights and the nurse counting out the contractions as they waved over me like a steamroller.
One minute, he didn’t exist, and the next minute he was here,crying with the indignity of it. They rushed to take him to meet his parents - so fast that I didn’t get to see his face. His new father was probably pacing in the hall. The new mother was probably wearing pearls and chewing her cuticles. I imagined they would cry, their hearts bursting with love, and reach out to hold him gently, smiling fondly at each other like they do on TV. They planned to send him to the best schools, buy him the best toys, shower him with praise and great advice and all I knew was that my own heart had left the room with him and the soul crushing pain was so visceral that it made the agony of childbirth pale in comparison. Focus on the drawer pull.
When the nurse appeared, she told me I had done great. I looked at her and she smiled sweetly at me, possibly some pity in her eyes or maybe I just imagined it. I tried to answer her but the only sound I could make was a gasp for breath that may have sounded like “No.” She brought me ice water in a plastic yellow cup with a straw and I pushed it away, trying to sit up. “No,” I said, more clearly this time, terrified and yet so sure. “I’ve changed my mind.”