FRIED FEVER “SHOWROOM OF PERFECTION”

11 06 2011

FRIED FEVER

I’m almost three month pregnant and if I thought that PMS was debilitating before, I’m learning a whole new level of it. Early pregnancy is like PMS 300 times worse.

I’m enraged at Peter (my husband and the baby-daddy) and I let him have it. I’m enraged at everything, but what I really feel is bottom level fear. Raw and powerless fear because Peter is fresh out of Impact and has no job yet. My instincts of motherly need for protection kick in so violently and I’m so scared that he will not be able to provide for our new family that I’m out of my mind.

I want to provoke him. I want to tune out my panic and the best thing I can do at this moment is to play Einsturzende Neubauten. The noise and anger of this music expresses how I feel, but I am not able to name what makes me so mad. I turn up the noise and its rage resonates with me and I feel less alone in my world of isolated fear.

I tune it up some more and then more and more, louder until the walls of our loft seem to shake. The windows rattle and finally reach Peter who is engrossed in his favorite show reruns of “Mayberry Something”. How can he watch shit like this while I suffer such existential fear? How can he be so clueless?

He gets up from his comfort zone and turns the TV down.

“What the hell is wrong with you? Turn it down!” he yells over Blixa Bargeld’s wails. I turn it up higher and put my feet on the sewing machine and cross my arms.

“Why?” I scream over the screeching and menacing noise. “So you can pretend to live in Mayberry Land and not deal with what’s going on? Fuck you!”

“Please turn it down. I don’t want trouble with our neighbors,” he pleads.

“This is a loft in the middle of nowhere, in case you haven’t noticed yet,” I yell “And I need this right now. I’m freaked out”

“Come on, baby” he turns the noise level down, just enough to understand what I’m screaming and sits down next to me. He grabs my hand and looks at me with love I his beautiful face. I rip my hand away from his.

“Fuck you. Leave me alone!” I yell.

“Talk to me, tell me why you’re so freaked out” he pleads.

“If you don’t know by now, you’re even more stupid than I thought” I snap and turn the dial up as high as it will go.

“Futter my ego, futter my ego” Blixa wails and I stare my husband down.

He kicks the amplifier. Blixa goes on with a curdling scream.

“I’m pregnant! I’m pregnant and I don’t trust you. I don’t need you. Why don’t you fucking leave you loser. I’m on my own with this baby anyway.”

“What are you talking about? I’m your husband. I’m on your side. I want this baby. I’m getting a job. Please stop this rage”

“No! You’re not getting a job. You’re gonna go back to shooting dope and leave it all up to me to support us”

“I’ve fucked up. But this is now and I swear I’m taking care of our family and you. Please. Please trust me. And please turn this down, it’s giving me a headache”

“No. Fuck you. Get out, get the fuck out!” I scream with tears choking me. No way am I going to cry. But I know I’m wrong and unfair. It’s just I can’t admit that. My fear of this pregnancy and that I’ll have to rely on another human being is too much for me to handle. I don’t want to rely on him. I want to be strong and independent, the way I’m used to be. I don’t want to need this man to take care of me, of us, of the growing baby inside of me. I feel shitty and fat and out of control.

“Lets go to a meeting” he says and turns the sound system off.

“What’s that got to do with anything?” I say into the sudden silence. “How is this going to help?”

He takes me into his arms, so tight that I can’t fight him. With my head buried into his chest, my rage turns to hysterical sobs. He strokes my head while I cry and punch his stomach with the little space he allows me inside his tight embrace.

“Get it out, baby, get it all out” he whispers. I collapse into his strong body and weep.

“There, there, that’s it, that’s what you feel. I love you so much and I’m so proud of you, baby. We’re going to have a baby.” He turns my face up to him and I notice a glimmer of tears in his eyes. “We’re going to do this. Trust me. Just lean into me and let it go.”

I cry what seems like hours inside his embrace. When I finally catch my breath, I kiss him with passion I haven’t felt for a long time, too long, way too long.

“You’re right. We both need a meeting,” I say and peel out of his loving arms “lets go!”

On the way to the meeting, we pass a Hamburger Place across the street from the Tropical Café.

“Stop here. I need a hamburger.” I state.

“A hamburger? Is this one of those weird pregnancy cravings?” he wonders, “In all those years I’ve known you, you’ve never ever wanted a hamburger”

“Well, I do now”

“Okay. Whatever you want, baby” he smiles and pulls into the take-out lane.

The smell of burning animal flesh and stale oil hits me as soon as the take out window opens to take our order. I have to roll down he window on my side of his truck and stick my head out for fresh air.

“You’re sure about that?” Peter wonders.

“Yes!” I say through clenched teeth, trying not to breathe, “Yes, I need a hamburger right now”

“Well okay then. I’m not hungry, so you’re on your own with this” he laughs and plants another kiss on my tear streaked cheek.

He orders and pays and I tuck into my steaming peace of meat and bun. The novelty of a never before tasted food fills my mouth and I take another bite. This is sensational, new, gross and bad all at once. It doesn’t last, though. After the third bite, my pregnancy nausea hits me like a sledgehammer. I gag and throw the whole thing out the window.

“I knew you can’t eat shit like that”, Peter smiles while he starts the car up.

We get to the meeting and those three bites roll around in my stomach like marbles. No, more like rocks. I think about the wolf in “Red Riding Hood” and wonder if he felt like me before he died. I consider the bathroom, but I want to be good. I want to not throw up. My baby needs food.

“If I still feel like that, I’ll throw up after the meeting,” I promise to myself while I sit through the meeting.

Afterwards, when we all stand outside, Ernesto looks at me and comments: “You look fabulous, you finally put on some weight. It really suits you”

I want to die right there.

“You know, if you ever want to have a women in your life, don’t ever say something like this, you stupid moron. That’s the last thing any girl wants to hear,” I snap.

“But you look great! This was a compliment! You were way too skinny” he stammers.

“Shut up!” I yell, “ This isn’t a compliment. It’s an insult. You are the biggest stupidest idiot I’ve ever met”

“Sorry. I’m really sorry,” he mumbles as he retreats towards another gaggle of happily chatting people.

“Not that this is any of your business, asshole, but I’m pregnant” I yell after him.

Everybody in ears length quiets down.

“Really? Oh my god” a tattooed girl with piercings all over her ears hollers “Congratulations! That’s so cool!”

All of a sudden I’m surrounded by well meaning and excited people, hugging and chattering at me. I’m swept up in a cloud of genuine excitement.

“Yes, It’s true. I’m pregnant. Not fat,” I laugh and I feel happy and excited myself for the first time. All of a sudden this is real. Peter beams while he folds his arms protectively around me.

When we finally climb into his truck, after patiently listening to well meaning and loving advice and congratulations, I feel a wave of serenity and certainty that it will all work out envelop me. Such is the power of meetings. I’m not alone, we are not alone, a miraculous being is growing inside of me and all will be well.

I don’t throw up when we get home, even though waves of nausea make me feel dizzy and tired. I’m feeding my baby and this is just normal. I assure myself before I fall asleep.

When I wake up, Peter has left to help a friend move. I glimpse at the clock and am surprised that it is afternoon. I never sleep that late.

I try to get up, but can’t. A hit of unbelievable pain in my head slams me back into our bed. I lay there, wondering. Then I notice my head. It is throbbing. I have to close my eyes to shut out the blinding light that creeps through the half open blinds. Every limb in my body hurts with such intensity that I have to curl up in a fetal position and hug myself as tight as I can. The urge to go pee forces me to get up and I manage to crawl to the bathroom, inch by inch. I search blindly through our medicine cabinet and finally find the thermometer. I stick it in my mouth and it beeps after an eternity while I’m crouched over the toilet.

106 degrees. That can’t be right. I slowly crawl back to the bed and take my temperature again. This time, the mercury stops at the end of the thermometer – it has shot up to the end of what is possible. I manage to find the phone that is mercifully placed next to the bed and I call Peter.

“Something is wrong. I’m burning.” I mumble.

“Calm down, baby. What is it?”

“I have a fever that’s higher than the thermometer can measure, at least 106 degrees. Oh my god, what is happening to me?”

“Stay in bed. I’m calling the doctor right now” he says and hangs up.

I lay there, hot and cold with a kind of pain I’ve never experienced before. Half asleep and delirious, hiding under all our covers, I’m able to pick up the phone when it rings, I don’t know how much later.

“You need to go to the hospital immediately” I hear my doctor through a cloud of delirious fatigue “An ambulance will be there in a few minutes. Try to let them in, so they don’t have to break down the door”

With almost inhuman strength, I make it to the door and unlock all the bolts that a loft in Downtown requires. Then I pass out, on our chic grey concrete floor, somewhere between the door and the bed.


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3 responses

12 06 2011
Jeff Bozem

As usual your personel diorama’s echo what goes on in countless like episodes…except of course..yours are better written…you writing always makes me see the picture…and that is not easy…….loved it..thanks..when is the book out?

12 06 2011
Monah Li

That’s a good question. When I have a publisher…..thanks for your comment, Jeff!

12 06 2011
Jeff Bozem

I just rambled on & On about your genius…but maybe I do not gert how to do

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