Dan A. Cardoza
Megan’s fall was a measure of well-deserved punishment she thought, each shower curtain fastener a paradoxical life ring. Snap, snap, snap—tunk.
Bowie knew every sound in the house, including the impossible ones, like the footfalls of his Victorian stoop-shouldered mouse.
“Meg, what the fuck, you ok?” She said yes, as if to apologize.
“Really, are you alright?”
“No,” she said, an octave above a whisper. “I lost our baby.”
Bowie knew better than to burst into the bathroom, trust was something they’d repaired slowly, like the rooms in their house. Privacy was revered and honored.
Bowie and Megan’s relationship was built on wounds, and good faith––failures promise.
After what felt like forever, he asked, “What can I do?”
“Just be here,” she replied. Call no one.!Then the brushed nickel spigot slowly turned off.
Late Friday night, Bowie’s father spoke in his dream, “Son, you’ll be a fortunate man if you can count true friends on one hand, minus a thumb. You will fall in love only once.”
In another life, Bowie had buried advice, along with his father, whom he’d lost to the Kingdom of Kandahar, so very far away like Oz. And there was mother, who’d drowned at Heroin Lake.
All they’d left him was angry, a patched up Victorian, and utterly alone. Megan became his life.
Megan and her mother are Balsamic vinegar and oil, and although her dad is loveable, he’s distant, as in doing starched-collar time at Taft Correctional. He is knowledgeable and resourceful, much too creative for prison. It’s on one of their visits that Bowie learns about kites.
With Bowie’s new talent, kites fly under the bathroom door.
“You’re not alone, ever.” “Please come out?”
With a can of Dust Off, Scotch Tape, Sticky Notes and twine–kites blew in, tugged out.
The first messages returned crinkled and wet. Then dry but read. Back to wet again he thought from tears.
“We can get through this.” “I love you!” Epistles sail choppy seas of black and white mosaic tile.
As dark armies worried the borders of midnight, Bowie knew, if it was winter, she would’ve suffered hypothermia. He knew better not to dishonor Megan, by breaking through the door. She might never trust him again. So instead, he set his phone on airplane mode. By instinct or wisdom, a gut check was in order.
Megan loved sharing that she was pregnant. But for some reason, it confused her parents. After all, she was a declared feminist, “and so young.” They thought if at all, it should’ve been later. And, “for God’s sake, she was still healing from that teenage Dysmorphia cut.” Too they troubled each other that Bowie might not be the fatherly type.
Megan lost close battles, fighting about how he’d changed.
But Megan is pitifully hopeful, and strong, she believes in change and better angels. She’d recently said, “Being pregnant makes me want to be a better person, for everyone, including myself.”
Megan had arrived late from work one evening, just as Bowie was setting paper plates on the kitchen counter. As she walked past him, she couldn’t help but notice his URL/Popular Baby Names//. March birthed pickles at midnight, bloating and Gerry Garcia Ice cream, long rides with baby-daddy into the country, even longer walks through slower parks. It was a time for picking colors for baby’s room, depending upon which one would be finished. It was all about Sycamore and Crape Myrtle popcorn buds, as Bowie and Megan celebrated with Martinelli's and Clausthaler near beer.
Megan had arrived late from work one evening, just as Bowie was setting paper plates on the kitchen counter. As she walked past him, she couldn’t help but notice his URL/Popular Baby Names/.
Then spring exploded. To Megan, color had been reinvented, though employed as an interior decorator, all this “something” seemed entirely new. Before her season, she was confident she’d mentally cataloged every fine art hue in each solstice. Being pregnant was so much more than she’d expected. Bowie and Megan met each like-kind awakening in stride.
Megan felt calmer after she spoke with her mom and Bowie.
Dr. Styles said, “It’s not that uncommon to spot blood, so don’t be overly concerned.”
“Then listen Megan,” Mom reassured. “I spotted with your older sisterCamie, come to think of it, she is a little weird?”
Megan tried not to laugh, “Too funny mom, I know, but I have past issues.”
Bowie listened, chilled on the sofa, with his earbuds and Netflix on low, as he Googled “spotting.”
March birthed pickles at midnight, bloating and Gerry Garcia Ice cream, long rides with baby-daddy into the country, even longer walks through slower parks. It was a time for picking colors for baby’s room, depending upon which one would be finished. It was all about Sycamore and Crape Myrtle popcorn buds, as Bowie and Megan celebrated with Martinelli's and Clausthaler near beer.
On Queue appeared Bowie’s father speaking of friends and love in a dream. And then action, Megan felt an abdominal cramp as if something inside her was giving up, then came the bleeding.
After it happened, her first thought was to shower, but just cleansing didn’t seem good enough. She felt bloated and fat, but less empowered. aAlone, she knew her life would never be the same.
After her fall, she consoled herself, “I can think better here in the tub.”
Very early Saturday morning, Bowie quit knocking.
Megan gasped and sobbed, “This is between you and me. I am ok physically, I just need some time.”
“But I am crazy worried Megan,” he said. “Please let me in.”
“I can’t, be strong, please let me gather my thoughts,” she pleaded.
“For how long?” he asked.
“For as long as I need, please?”
By 6:00 A.M. the next Saturday morning, there was panic. Megan’s breathing had grown shallow and deep, exhausted, he thought. She whimpered and moaned in a nightmare of deep sorrow and pain.
Bowie sat Indian style next to the bathroom door on the carpet. He’d slept there too. Then he heard the shower again. He listened the door.
A half-hour later, the brushed nickel door knob turned. Megan slowly entered the hallway, dressed in her robe and smile and glowing red cheeks. She’d never been this beautiful. They hugged, traveled through time.
Here, Bowie thought of his father, and what he’d said about love. They both knew that everything was going to be ok, and in the silence that enveloped them, a new compassion was born.
Dan A. Cardoza has a MS Degree in Education from UC, Sacramento, California. He is the author of four poetry chapbooks and a new book of flash fiction.