Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Two Lost Souls
Conjoined twins are always identical; I gaze at the fetal skeleton, two tiny skulls sitting on top of one perfect little body. Poor little babies! Were they still born? Did some unscrupulous doctor murder them at birth in order to sell them as a medical specimen? Did their mother get to hold them before they were taken away from her? What were her thoughts as she beheld her children? Did she believe she'd been cursed by an angry god for some unknown offense? Was she repulsed? Did she bother to give them names? Did she grieve, or breathe a sigh of relief that there were two less mouths to feed?
So many questions swarm through my head. I had come to the medical museum to distract myself from my own problems, but all I could do was worry about the exhibits. Why couldn't they make plasticine casts of the bones, and give these poor people a decent burial? Were they poor cast offs from polite society? People of color? I was fascinated and ashamed of my fascination all at the same time. I gaze at the black empty sockets. The eyes are the window to the soul; were there dual souls residing within those bodies? Were they in a better place,or were they floating around somewhere, angry displaced pieces of light waiting to be released?
My head begins to hurt; the air in the museum begins to feel hot and thin. I put my coat on and go outside. It's damp and misting; I pull my collar up and shove my hands deep into my pockets. I start to hurry home, then slow down as I remember the fight we'd had that morning. Angry, cruel words volley back and forth like missiles over the trenches. I'm beginning to think that we're at a place we can't get back from.
I get to our place, hesitating slightly before putting my key in the door. I walk into a dark apartment; there's candle light coming from our bedroom. I take off my coat and stand stupidly by the closet. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I slowly make my way towards the door. Lit candles ring the room; you're lying in bed, seductively posing against the pillows, the sheet strategically placed. I lean against the door frame as you smile at me.
"I called your cell, but you didn't pick up."
I start to tap the top of my shoe on the floor, my arms crossing across my chest.
"I left work early. I needed time to think."
"I'm sorry about this morning. What do you say we kiss and make up?"
I drop my eyes towards the floor. I don't feel like making up. God, you're always so smug, always so convinced of your ability to make me acquiesce to you! I turn and kick the door frame, banging my head against the wood.
"I have a head ache, I'm not in the mood."
You get up from the bed and stand before me, naked as the day you were born, your buff body glowing in the candle light. Most women would be thrilled to have a Norse God for a boyfriend, but all I can think of at this moment are those bodies in the museum, alone, unwanted. Why didn't anyone care enough about them to give them a decent funeral? How could a mother not love her children enough to make sure they would rest in peace? How could she not want to visit their grave? Tears began to slip down my cheeks as sobs steal my breath. You cradle my head and pull me closer to you.
"Don't cry baby, I didn't mean what I said this morning. You just took me by surprise when you said you were pregnant. I want the baby, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. The three of us."
I raise my head and look into your eyes. It's like looking into two black orbs. Like looking into a soulless skull.