Today marks the one-year anniversary of this blog – 161 posts to date. My inaugural post is below. I started what i saw today
with no real sense of direction or purpose
. I figured I’d try it for a year, see what happens. For the first several months, I posted in Dreamweaver
, with no hyperlinks, feeds or means to comment. Basically a thrice-weekly cry in the wilderness. Switching to blogging software last fall made all the difference. It’s been a great experiment, and I’ve enjoyed getting to know my visitors and other Vermont bloggers. My gratitude to those who deemed what i saw today
Anyway, for the remainder of the month, I plan to re-post lesser-known entries from my early days. For freshness’ sake, I’m avoiding any that turned into VPR
commentaries or that the devoted Vermont blogosphere champion Cathy Resmer picked for her linkdumps/weekly posts at 802online
(thanks again for the traffic boosts, Cathy). To those of you with me since the beginning, please pardon the repetition (though now you can comment about what a bullshit move you think it is). And many thanks to everyone who’s taken a few moments to visit. Stop by anytime.a woman who'd lost her way
Friday, May 5, 2006
It was a bright, sunny day, one of the first of the season. I was on lunch break, people-watching at the top of Church Street. There were no benches free, so I sat on the edge of the stone wading pool.
I heard her before I saw her, a loud, gruff voice going on about a fight. I didn’t turn my head. Before I knew it, someone had slid in next to me, our shoulders almost touching like we’d planned to meet here. She looked mid-forties and was dressed in blue hospital scrubs, white aerobics sneakers. She had thick arms and thighs, doughy face, and short greasy blond hair. For a moment, I mistook her for an orderly but I knew it was the woman that went with the voice. She was missing teeth and dried lip stick smeared the corner of her mouth. “You gotta help me out.” She asked if I had change, she needed to call some clinic. “You see I got an abortion yesterday. I’m bleeding still. Well, it was actually more like a half miscarriage, half abortion.” She took a slow draw on her cigarette, and looked around, perfectly patient for my response. I patted my pockets even though I knew I had no change.
She reeked of booze, Soviet style. My breath used to stink that bad at this hour, and issued forth my own desperate, convoluted stories, mostly to sad girlfriends. She said she’d been arrested yesterday. Then they took her to the hospital and wouldn’t let her out of til this morning. I remember being brought to the same hospital and sneaking out halfway through an alcohol intake. I wondered if she’d grabbed some scrubs from a closet and slipped off. Though they fit well. “OK, let me use your phone then,” she said, spying my cell, “I need to call that clinic, you know the one? Up there on Winooski.” I saw myself chasing her down Church Street as she ranted on my phone, maybe even slamming it on the brown paving stones. I might have to grab her by the elbow, touch her cold fleshy arm. She’d look at me like some piss-ant stranger and tell me to fuck off. I’d lose my phone. I told her I was over my minutes. She accepted this lie.
A couple Canadian tourists walked by, and she shouted at them, “Hey, you know how to get to the central clinic?” After a few tries, she turned to me, like we were in this together. “You believe it used to cost 10 cents to make phone call. A quarter? Bullshit. Thirty-five cents, fifty cents.” I suggested she go to Brooks pharmacy and ask about the clinic. “You kidding me,” she said, looking at me like I’d suggested we get married, “I can’t go in there. They threw me outta there. Three bottles of wine, you know, the guy made me get out.” People were staring. I wasn’t like her anymore, I couldn’t relate, and that scared me. The trench I’d dug between today and yesterday had been filled in deep, but nothing in there seemed of much use right now.
She stopped a guy and asked him over, a businessman without his jacket on. I wondered if he thought we were together. She told him she needed to make a call. He dug into his pants the same way I had, “Sorry, don’t have anything.” She persisted. “I gotta call that clinic, come on.” He pulled out his cell phone and flipped the cover. What’s the number? “I don’t fuckin’ know.” He told her to ask for a phonebook in a store or something, and walked off. I said I had to move on, too. I wished her luck. “But what store should I try?” she called after me. “Try Borders,” I said. From behind me, “What? A quarter? What do you mean? Oh, a bar? Yeah, OK, I’ll try a bar.” I didn’t look back but pictured her staggering into Halversons, and wondered what the lunch hour crowd would make of her. I was ashamed for us both. I wish I knew her name.