Day 79: Birthdays

I get older; you get older.
That’s how this works.

My legs are healing. Bright pockmarks of red and white mark where the surgeon’s knife entered. An “X” to kill the tributaries. That’s what he told me. A balding, gentle man in his late seventies with his hands on my naked leg, tracing the dark bulging blue river. That’s what he called it.

“This big vein, this is the river,” he said,
“these little squiggly lines, they are the tributaries. The river feeds the tributaries. We must kill the river to stop the flow.”

Today you turn ten. When you were two, I used to roll you on your belly and kiss the place where we were once connected. I did it to see if you trusted me. To see if, like a dog, you’d let me suspend you in vulnerability. You did. You giggled, flapped your toothless lips with spit, and looked at me like I was your river.

I decided to make your cake this year. You both watch as the turntable spins and the pink and purple icing falls from the bag. It’s all in the pressure. Cake decorating requires more science and physics than talent. You need to know exactly how much pressure to apply to make a shape.

The first time I felt the two of you move inside of me it was like a solar system rose up through my center. Your foot against the inside of my skin, your elbow, your spine, all the baby bits of you orbiting around my belly weightless, suspended. The pressure of you against me remains one of the strongest memories of my life. I can close my eyes and swear you’re still there.

Last week, you ran off the bus with a burst of tears in your step. A boy broke up with you, called you “annoying.” Your heart was in pieces. I lied and told you that it will hurt less in time. That somehow this ache will lessen. I held your sobbing nest of hair against my chest and let the hurt take you. Inside of me a beast was raging.

I was once consumed with the mouths of boys. I waited for every breath, defined myself with syllables, tasted life on their tongues. Now it all just seems like noise and smoke.

Yesterday, one of you told me that you can’t wait to go to high school. Because in high school you can use your phone, and that you would call me between every class. Your face was lightning-bright and fast with excitement. In high school, you will be a storm. Of that I am certain. I will be the last person you want to call. But I will hold on, keep my phone near me, run my thumb over the “home” button just waiting for the thunder of your voice on the other end.

I get older; you get older.
That’s how this works.

This is 39.

Photo Credit: Alex Holyoake Flickr via Compfight cc








Amye Archer

Amye Archer holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction. Her memoir, Fat Girl, Skinny, was named runner-up for the Red Hen Press Nonfiction Manuscript Award, and has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She has two poetry collections: BANGS and A Shotgun Life, both published by Big Table Publishing. Amye’s work has appeared in Brevity, Creative Nonfiction, Hippocampus, Mothers Always Write, Nailed Magazine, PMS: Poem Memoir Story, PANK, and Provincetown Arts. She is the creator of The Fat Girl Blog.

One thought on “Day 79: Birthdays

  1. doriowendoriowen Reply

    Amye, just a spine-tingling read. I was fascinated and mesmerized by the underlying dialogue. Unsure at times, yet very sure at times. Of your writing, color me a huge fan! xoD.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *