Mothers of Twins
I remember the day perfectly when Connie Yonker, President of the Southern Michigan Mothers of Twins Club, waltzed into my hospital room as spunky as Ginger Rogers in an old movie musical. I gave birth to a set of twin boys only ten hours before, and it rained heavily outside my window, April showers, keeping the current Michigan spring gloom at bay. The humidity from the steam outside was barely held in check by the ancient heating and cooling system. In late April there’s always so much rain, a dispassionate sheet of gray and a stretch of overcast days to get the tulips blooming. 24 hours before I gave birth I told Jack, my husband, I didn’t want to deliver in the rain, but I guess I didn’t have a choice. It’s funny sometimes when I think about how many days it can rain without a break, when the waters rise along the river running through town and push over the banks to flood Maple Street. When that happens no one can get through to the local grocery store for bread or frozen dinners.
Under my thin hospital blanket, with gentle circles, I rubbed the area around the bandaged sutures spread across my belly; I wanted some relief when, tap-tap on the unlatched door, Connie knocked like a woodpecker high from the aroma given off by her giant Gucci handbag, and burst into my room. A very tan, very thin small woman in a Day-Glo-yellow rain slicker smiled with such obvious guile; her red skirt peeked out under the coat lining, and her sleeves were rolled up almost to her elbows. Her eyes were big and I swear they almost glowed in vibrant aqua. I stayed silent for a moment just staring into those irises of hers because of the unreal and distracting quality; a sparkling alien-like feeling washed over me and in my mind it felt like the rain. She held her big purse loosely and it swung down near her knees.
She came right up to my bedside and stuck out her hand, which appeared fragile, tiny, with tan veins crossing along the back and gold rings with emerald green and diamonds on two of her fingers. “Hel-lo,” she said, and the cheer and welcoming she put into her voice startled me, made me think of the voices telephone solicitors use when you first respond to them with a puzzled tone, when it’s too late and they have you in their verbal trap.
“You look marvelous now don’t you?” she added, the last word tilting upward. “The radiance of a new mother of twins! I must say: Wow!”
I didn’t immediately know what to say but I certainly knew I did not look as good as this woman said I looked. Since the birth was cesarean and my abdominal and uterine walls were cut up, the doctor told me my stomach and everywhere would bloat even more until the gas could be released. Now I had to read up online about the current C-Section recovery tips, another thing to add to my ever-growing list of mommy chores (maybe Jack could handle this one, research it all at home, find out what the doctors aren’t telling us, place me into a paranoid papoose, and I know he means well, but it’s still very hard for me to actually do what he tells me to do, so maybe not—the deranged pre-birth mommy thoughts filling my head as I confronted this strange woman in front of me). They had told me ten hours into labor that natural birth, the event Jack and I had practiced once a week and on our own after class, would damage one of the boys because of his position. I was still getting bigger and bigger, my skin color tinged a sickly yellow—and maybe that’s what she confused me with: the radiance of a human lemon. I felt unclean after having only one sponge bath since the delivery. All I wanted was an explanation for the strange intrusion so I kept quiet and waited for the woman to go on speaking.
Because my arms were under the blanket and I didn’t bring them out to shake hands, her fingers jittered a little dance in the air before lowering. She winked like a mime telling me she understood my weakness, my rudeness. “Well, I do say you look splendid after giving birth to twin boys.” Again, she spoke the last word louder than the rest, as if she’d been a cheerleader in her younger days and the habit never dissipated; I finally asked her who she was.
“Connie Yonker, of East Point. You know—the small subdivision past Adams Road, near Cranbrook, the one next to Christian Hills. I’m in charge of all recruiting in this region; I’ve been President of the Mothers of Twins Club for going on almost ten years this June.” She let that sink in.
I thought she worked fast. Who was her connection at the hospital? Who was the person on the Labor and Delivery staff who informed this—I was growing ever-so-prickly now in my discomfort—cheery woman of all the twin births at St. Lukes Hospital. Wasn’t it against the law to divulge patient information? I certainly thought so and for a second I was on the verge of really getting angry. I breathed deeply two times, counting to ten in my head, with sound effects and made myself calm again. If I started shouting I didn’t want this happy woman to tell me I wasn’t feeling well because of bad postpartum feelings. I felt the awkwardness in the air and Connie brightly persevered through my darkening mood.
“Right now I’m very tired,” I said, and before I could get out another word she broke in and told me that was only natural and she’d only take another minute of my time and wasn’t it an awful day to be stuck in a hospital with the rain and all.
“When I gave birth to my first set of twins I think it was hailing pellets as big as chick peas. So I know what it’s like.”
. . .
If you’re enjoying the meeting between Connie Yonker and her quarry, please continue reading in Sandcastle and Other Stories. Here is a sneak peak at my mother’s artwork that will be used to create the cover to The Conversationalist, a suspense novella about a different kind of stalker.
Enjoy your own creative path,
title: jan 005
mixed media on paper
Please view more paintings by both my mother and father at www.bogdanovitch.com.
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