how i found you

How I Found: My Daughter
February 12, 2009, 2:57 am
Filed under: my child

You don’t remember, but I do. The day had been long, and lonely. I had that job at the new physical therapy clinic in Everett, Washington. It was too far a commute from Seattle but I figured if I couldn’t have you, at least I could have an exciting promotion. Only it wasn’t that exciting. A one-person department, especially that first week before the patients arrived, made for a lot of solitary hours, and more than a few unacknowledged tears.

Someone was supposed to come and move the brand new exercise and training equipment where I wanted it in my new department. When they hadn’t shown up by Friday I decided to do it myself. I had given up on you by then, the unique “you” you would have been that month, that time. Good thing I didn’t know who (I feared) I was losing. I’d not have been able to bear it, had I known you then.

All day long I hauled and shoved heavy exercise machinery: the chair-like behemoth on which a patient sits down and kicks a leg out straight; an ancient, mechanically driven treadmill; a primitive precursor to a stair climber. I positioned and repositioned hulking plinths and mat tables, a desk, a rack of free weights. You think I exaggerate, that no one could move such bulky, weighty pieces alone. I was sad, but I was strong.

Maybe it was you, helping me. It wouldn’t be the last time. I took deep breaths and lifted, shifted a front end and then a back, inch by inch. By myself, or so I imagined. It made my head and back ache, but my belly already ached. The way it had ached, every month, since we began looking for you.

At the end of the day I drove the little white Toyota back to Seattle, where I picked up your dad to go home. He was working at the blood bank that day. I waited for him in the pitch black, deserted parking lot. It was February, but there was no snow. Only dark, wet cold.

Here’s a piece out of the history books: your dad found you before I did. Before HIPAA laws, before privacy acts, before a woman had the right to access a lab test sooner than her husband. Even when he could not see you, he found you first. But for all the pleasure of the next nine months when you lived inside me, for the miracle that we were, together, it was the least we could do for him, wasn’t it?

If I had seen him approach the car that night I might have found you in him, in the lightness of his step, even in that dark, dark chill. Instead, he was there in the car, arms wrapped around me, shoulders shaking. He had seen you in my blood just minutes before. And then we both cried like the baby we had dreamed you would be, the night I found you.

Donna Trump’s writing career began in mid-life at The Loft, a writer’s cooperative located in Minneapolis, MN. In the three years since she enrolled in The Loft’s “Writing for the Absolute Beginner,” her fiction and poetry have appeared in Speakeasy and Fog City Review. Her short stories were finalists in Glimmer Train Press’ Summer 2007 Very Short Fiction Contest (“Igloo”) and the Tobias Wolff 2008 Fiction Award contest (“Weight Shift.”) She received the Loft Mentor Series Award for Fiction in 2007.


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This is beautiful.

Comment by AKS

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