I’ve never subscribed to the notion of superstition, especially not numerical superstitions, but this last Friday the 13th was remarkable in its reinforcement. More than a week before, I'd taken a pregnancy test at the top of Rockefeller Center in New York and considered the result.
I looked at the two solid blue lines. I’d forgotten to bring the box or instructional diagram with me, tucking the test into my luggage on my way out the door just in case. Standing under the art deco facade, I made an executive ruling: I must have the kind of test that shows a cross-and-line when positive instead of the two-line positive. Two lines; it's surely negative. The Hackworths and I shared an “Ah, well” moment and moved closer to the glass that separated us from the rest of New York.
It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I was wrong.
And how did I not know?
1. I was exhausted, kept falling asleep, even during conversations (remember the Colbert Report?)
2. I was grumpy
3. I wanted lots of drinks with ice
4. Stuff hurt
5. Everything made me cry
6. That Halal cart was really, really good
7. I was hungry but didn’t want to eat anything.
Adding insult to stupidity, not two weeks previously I’d derided a TV commercial for asserting that 1 in 5 women can misread a pregnancy test. Who could those sad, illiterate people be? I laughed at the pathetic women who can’t read a diagram, what, did they tank their SATs/ACTs?
I am that sad and illiterate people.
Immediately I fell into the tumble of early pregnancy. I couldn’t stay awake, couldn’t hold my temper, couldn't hold a thought, and my clothes felt tighter. We were thrilled. Everything was right in the world. Well, everything except that Jeanne’s no longer in it.
I put on my best new black and flowered dress on the morning of Friday the 13th to go to Jeanne’s funeral. She lived her life, I’ll tell you. Modeling, singing all over the world, from the gondolas of the Venetian to command performances, playing her violin, making naughty jokes. She was a light. You would have loved her. She was 33.
I walked into the chapel as a string ensemble played Barbar’s Adagio for Strings--which could make grown men sob. (Reminder: when I die, and I surely will, one Ravel’s Pavanne for a Dead Princess, OK? Deal?) Before the service started I went to powder my nose and realized that I was bleeding, and bleeding a lot.
I couldn’t think of what else to do, so I went back to sit down for Jeanne’s funeral. The giggles were simmering under the surface. Honestly, how much more drama could be packed into a single morning? It was Friday the 13th. I was at a funeral. I was miscarrying a baby. I almost felt like Jeanne would be giggling with me, impressed with The Meaning of It All. And then I cried.
Taking the grief out of death is like taking love out of the world, said one eulogizer.
I like that.
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