My Uterus and I My uterus and I are no longer on speaking terms. I don’t understand her problem, as if my fertility or lack thereof were personal, as if my choices were a burden to her. I talk to her in cliches: What’s done is done. The past is past. I remind her there was that one time when I answered her plea: Come on have a baby, everybody’s doing it. I warned her, You know what’s in our genes. You know what we carry. Think positively, maybe it won’t be like that. But a reproductive specialist confirmed, If it’s a girl, the chances of her developing our genetic disease are extremely high. My uterus protested: Unfair. During pregnancy, our autoimmune problems would be unmanageable: pain, hives, rashes, anaphylaxis. You worry too much. Go to a bar and pick up a healthy-looking man. As if she had never watched a Lifetime movie. I placated: We could adopt. She whispered something about biological imperatives then ghosted me altogether. That Girl I wonder what happened to that girl before she was afraid of the dark and wary of crowded stores where men’s hands slapped her ass sampling her body as if an item on the rack I wonder what happened to that girl the one who ran barefoot with free feet sinking into warm sand before she felt the weight of her thighs and the stares that claimed her shape I wonder what happened to that girl before her raised hand was ignored and she was told not to compete not to be argumentative, bossy, pushy, shrew that she would never find a boyfriend I wonder what happened to that teen emo, goth, grunge flannel, flowers, and combat boots before she knew this war was eons old as she knocked about in her gilded cage I wonder what happened to that young woman helping, saving, healing with industrious self-sacrifice before she understood she was failing becoming a legacy of despondent dependence I wonder what happened to that young woman panicked by magazine images terrified of TV violence before she strode into the very relationships constructed to crush her I wonder what happened to that middle-aged woman hell bent on having a baby proving her worth, her purpose to be consumed by holy motherhood no matter the cost I wonder what happened to that old woman before she was handed a gratitude journal and told she had no reason for dissent before she was forced to color in happy rainbows And pray for more empathy and patience Guile Was I ever innocent or did the fable of Eve cast me in nacho and chip commercials sliding naked on red sports cars a long-legged and red-lipped appendage for power and lust? Every avenue a catwalk, I am mussed and bed-headed at sixteen, groped and pawed in malls and bookstores by adult Adams who are allowed to swear to innocence in ways I am denied.
About the Author:
V. Bray has been a writer since childhood and still has a box filled with her first “books,” usually illustrated with markers and bound with yarn. She writes in many genres, from speculative and historical fiction to poetry. Her work has been published in About Place Journal, Borrowed Solace, the anthology Growing Up Lifespan, and The Writer magazine. Learn more at authorvbray.com.