The baby provides the perfect excuse for other things. Quiet and headachey and sick and exhausted and the mood swings and of course it's not detox, who would think it was detox. She's pregnant. It's just the baby, of course.
The inflight vomiting was just the baby, of course. Well, not detox, anyway. The baby. And the look in Layne's eyes when I got on the plane. Little commuter plane, little town in Arizona, little airport so that when I was on the plane, I could see him in the airport, but I don't think he saw me. Dianne drove us there, and we embraced and said our goodbyes. He didn't say he loved me. He didn't say that for another few months. He would call a few times in the first year. And he would call on her first birthday, and her second, and her third. And then never again.
We held each other and kissed for the last time and said goodbye and I hitched my bag up on my shoulder and walked to the plane, me in my soft cotton secondhand mustard-yellow skirt set and battered old black leather flats. Me going back to the world I was raised in. Leaving him in the world he was raised in.
Throwing up on an airplane is horribly undignified, but not so much so as crying. Even though that would likely be attributed to Just The Baby. Throwing up doesn't mean you're not tough. Throwing up means that your body has betrayed you. Crying means your heart and mind have betrayed you, and you let them. There is no shame or dishonor in a pregnant girl quietly using the paper bag for its intended purpose on a flight with heavy turbulence.
No stigma at all.
This began with a flight to Las Vegas, at night, and it ends with me on my way to my birthplace, heavily pregnant and alone. Five months after. A five-month epilogue. This book is closed. Another would open on March 15, 1995, when I began life as another girl.
I watched the clouds that day, cool-sweating, and knew that it was over.