I love playing would you rather. I play it all the time. And at 5:50 pm on May 21st as I watched the blackest, most ominous and terrifying cloud I've ever seen start to envelop Philadelphia, my mind bouncing between that ridiculous 6 pm rapture prediction and my menstrual cycle which was over 2 1/2 weeks late, I thought,
Would I rather be pregnant but have my life spared if God, were there such a thing, came down and killed all the heathens, of which I would most certainly be grouped in with, but gave pregnant heathens the choice to give birth and live,
Would I rather die and remain childless?
I didn't even have to think. I would rather die.
Keeping one embarrassingly suspicious eye on the sky, I cleared my mind and made my way to my friend's "meet the baby" party where, from a safe "babies make me nervous" distance I met all 5 pounds of her little newborn. I sat on the couch across from them and chit chatted with the other attendees about this and that, the whole while stealing glances at the wee one. After getting offered to touch her teensy feet I thought to myself, "If I'm pregnant, I'm going to get an abortion." When I left my friend was breastfeeding, her gigantic boob hangin' out, the teeny tiny person stuck on the end of it.
I made my way over to the Converge show, realizing as a I biked under spooky skies that while rapture may have been a sham, my uterus, which I've always kinda thought of as a useless token of my femininity, an internal knick knack if you will, is in fact a functional bit of business and that despite my best efforts to will my womb to be hostile, it's not.
I was interested to see what'd become of Converge. I grew up seeing them in small venues all over New England, but as years passed their and shows got bigger and the crowds got stranger, I stopped going. The last time I saw them was in 2001. 10 years later with no knowledge of any of their records past Jane Doe, running on 3 1/2 hours of sleep, covered in glitter from work, fresh from a baby viewing, in the hot, humid basement of Broad Street Ministry I watched Converge, and it was just like I remembered. Only... not. It was actually a lot like the bathroom of South Station.
South Station's bathroom in Boston is a place I've passed through for years and years, very much like a Converge show. When I was there a few months ago tidying up in the mirror, it struck me how many incarnations of myself had stood in that exact spot, doing that exact thing. I've aged in that mirror, watched phases of my life pass, seen myself grow up. Converge's set held a mirror up to me again, forcing me to face that while so many things are constant, I am not. They were the same band with the same crowd reaction, but I felt the years between us. I'd seen Converge as a goofy 16 year old in jnco jeans moshing for the first time, I'd seen Converge as a grinning, finger pointing 19 year old crammed practice space at 2 am, but never once had I seen Converge, nor did I ever think I would see Converge, as a non-participatory 28 year old maybe-pregnant woman standing quietly. But there I was.
Sitting at a full and lively table in Chinatown after the show shoving broccoli into my mouth and while everyone gossiped and joked, I thought about what it really means for the world to end. Sure, Jesus didn't do his thing and the ground didn't swallow us up, but for me rapture still had a distinct "your life is over" feel to it. For one, I might be pregnant. The idea that I can even get pregnant infuriates me, that particular ability not being one I asked for nor want. For two, I'd have to get an abortion. I considered pain, complications, inner city clinics, and timing this potentially hazardous excursion with touring and working, enraged that this bullshit could force me to miss either. And then I thought, Shouldn't I be more torn about what to do in this situation? I ran through scenarios of touching baby feet, my baby's feet, of giving it to a family that wanted a child, of this and that, but at no point did I feel swayed or touched or changed or convinced or motherly or incubatory. I'm just not a breeder. Twas not meant to be, for me.
Back at home laying in bed, I felt like Scrooge in A Christmas Carol. I had lived a resurrection of my past during Converge, I had been in the present of this periodless purgatory, and I had seen the future suckling my friend's tit. I had seen the end of the world on rapture, where my current path would lead me, and I went to sleep feeling decisive about decisions I hoped I wouldn't have to face.
In the morning I woke up, rolled over to hug Dave, and then, color me blood red... I felt it. The drip. The kickoff drip. I ran to my window with glee, tossed a handful of tampons down to a little neighborhood girl and shouted, "Trade these in for the biggest tofurkey in the health food shop's window! Deliver it to the nearest woman whose monthly is late! And here!" I tossed a couple of thick, white pads down to her, "Keep these for yourself!" She skipped off smiling, and I promptly collapsed into crippling celebratory cramps, mumbling "bahhh humbug" at my lower abdomen.
And that's it really. Maybe my uterus really is just a knick knack, like a off-time cuckoo clock popping out at random hours and weeks and months. Maybe I needed a good shake up. Maybe in willing my womb to hostility I offended my other lady parts and they staged a revolt for attention. I have no idea.