So many people don't think of that. They think Vegas, they think Arizona, they think of heat.
The desert gets cold at night.
I sat in Layne's friend's car, leaning back in the passenger seat, as the men conducted business within the trailer. My hand rested on my still-flat belly. The nausea had mostly subsided, but I still kept saltines by the bed just in case.
So many stars out, that night. Vegas drowned the stars out, blinded me - the corona of light pollution in Las Vegas has the same effect that the casinos do, in that you cannot see your way out. But Arizona... here, the desert was clear. A Circle K and a shitty trailer park were all the illumination Kingman had to offer.
I had not miscarried.
I had been pregnant before. A few times. Once when I was a teenager. Few more times during my first marriage. The first time - well, they call miscarriage "spontaneous abortion". All right. That's what that first one was. Spontaneous abortion. Aided by a very bad boyfriend.
The other miscarriages... the theory was that the first one had damaged me so that I could not carry a child to term.
So I assumed that I would lose this baby.
I have always been a believer in fate, in destiny, even when it's resulted in some pretty shitty things happening to me. If this baby was staying, maybe there was a reason for it.
I don't pray very often. When I do, it's often to whatever-god-may-listen... a "to whom it may concern" sort of thing. Rarely serious.
That night, I prayed to the god of my childhood.
I rolled down the window. I looked at the stars. I rested my hand on my belly. "Hi, God. I... I don't know what to do. I didn't think - I didn't think the baby would get this far." Deep breath. "So I'm asking for a sign. Is this baby meant to be here? Do I follow through? Am I going to miscarry again?" Another deep breath and a shake of my head to keep myself from rambling. "Anyway. I. If - if this is meant to be, if I'm supposed to have her... please, please help me to be the kind of mother this baby deserves. And if it's not... please, please let this miscarriage be soon. Please don't - please don't let me get my hopes up. Thank you."
Cold air on my skin and tears in my eyes. Unspoken: What if this is the rapist's child? What if I carry this child for nine months and he or she comes out looking like him? What then?
Layne's blue eyes, or the rapist's brown?
So many times my body rejected pregnancy, and now it chooses to embrace it?
But that lack of rejection... it must mean something.
I don't know. But I will take the chance. I will find out.
(Note: I left Arizona that November, shedding my life - or so it felt at the time. I worked hard to become a worthy mother.
She came out looking just like me. With my greyblue eyes. Which is, I think, God's or the universe's or whoever's way of saying that it didn't matter whose sperm was involved... she was my daughter.
I credit her with saving my life.)