G a i l
1 week old (September)
I am here. Where, I don’t know, but I feel a place around me. I can sense that I am no longer fighting to arrive. I have come from far away. I’m trying to recall it, but the memory is fading with each breath of new air that enters me and each stream of old air that leaves me. Little by little, light and sound make me understand more about where I am, and with every bit that I learn, I forget another piece of the place I came from. I don’t want to forget. I struggle and cry, cling and grab, but those memories are slipping into a darkness deep inside that lives, but that I can’t grasp. The loss is quick. It leaves an emptiness, but in the same second, things rush in and flood the emptiness: light, sound, warmth, hunger, hunger, hunger….
2 weeks old (September)
Everything is blurry. Sometimes, faces come close. One in particular brings me comfort. It has dark eyebrows and brown eyes with long eyelashes that make my heart flutter. Those eyes are big and warm. They sometimes crinkle up and shine. I see a mouth that spreads open to make sounds. I stretch and stretch so that my hands can touch it.
Where I am, there is light that teaches me about what’s outside of me and darkness that teaches me about what’s inside of me. There are smudges of color and bursts of movement that I could look at forever. I’m sometimes being moved through space by powerful forces. Those forces bring me to see and hear more. Faces come close to me. I look at them, but search only for the brown eyes that crinkle. Alone in the dark, when faces and sounds are gone, I bring back the one remaining memory from before I was here – a heartbeat. It filled my universe. I hear it now, and it brings me sleep.
3 months old (December)
I open my eyes, wide, as sunshine climbs into my crib. Night is over, and I want to play. I feel for Soft Blue, the thing I never let go of, the thing I can’t sleep without. I grab it, see it, study it. It’s looking right back at me! I squish its softness and say, “Ah, ah ah!” I move my fingers, curl them, stretch them. I see every line, every color, every shape in them, as I hold them up close to my face. Suddenly I hear a familiar sound that makes me feel excited and restless. The sound gets louder as it comes closer. Then, the brown eyes are above me and coming toward me. The mouth smiles, and I smile, too. I reach out my arms and grab the brown hair that hangs down and tickles me, making me giggle. Then Brown Eyes’ hands are around me and pulling me out of my little cozy place. I see Soft Blue, left behind, and I cry out for a moment. But Brown Eyes carries me away, making sounds all the time, pointing here and there, and I forget about Soft Blue. I’m still holding the brown hair and grabbing at the air, as I travel through the room. I see people who come at me with high voices and white smiles. There are shapes and colors everywhere; I don’t know where to look. Then we travel to a flat glass on the wall. I see two faces in there; one has big brown eyes and long lashes, and the other… does, too! One has long brown hair, and the other has no hair. I stare and stare and put my hand on the glass. Brown Eyes and I stay there for a while, but then she carries me to a soft place where we sit down together. She lets me look at her, and I get lost in her brown eyes. They take me in and make me feel warm and safe. I smile, and she pulls me to her.
6 months old (March)
“Gail.” Whenever I hear it, I look, I listen. What’s next?