I'm pregnant. And apparently very close to going into labor. I can look down and see a generous bulge beneath my floral-print dress, and sometimes I place my hand protectively over it, the way you see people in the movies do (and possibly in real life, but honestly I've not been around all that many pregnant women to notice).
For some reason, I'm high-tailing it to a hospital (to give birth, I presume) in Philadelphia. I gaze out the window of whatever vehicle is being used to get me there; I'm not sure if I'm being driven in a car by someone I know or if I'm in a bus or a train or what. We are driving through some sleazy-looking sex ghetto where gay men line the streets in skimpy outfits that show off their massive bulges. I wonder to myself why straight men are never so well endowed. I talk to my family on the phone and tell them with amusement where I am. I can't recall their reaction.
I get to the hospital — alone, far as I can tell — and it's a sprawling, dark wood-paneled spread that looks more like a high school from the '70s then a hospital. There's a big plate glass window at ground level that looks onto some sort of campus where I see people walking around, going about their business.
I reach down to my belly and hold it to comfort myself. Something's not right; something is stirring and making me incredibly uncomfortable in a way I can't describe. I take some stairs to an upper level, when it becomes clear to me the other reason — besides having my own baby — that I'm there: To visit Twisty while she has her baby.
[Reality interlude: Twisty Faster is a blogger living in Austin whom I've never met, but whose blog I adore because it's searing and brilliant. Dreaming that she's having a kid is fairly laughable because she is a self-proclaimed spinster aunt, who basically believes that as long as women are the biological child-bearers, they will continue to bear the brunt of social and political oppression. So she's not exactly a subscriber to Babytalk magazine, if you get my drift.]
The entire floor seems empty. I see a stack of paper sitting on a table in a seating area at the end of the hall. I pick it up and see that it's a stack of e-mails for Twisty that she had printed out and placed on the table to share with everyone. Included in the bunch is one I sent her offering up the "Lesbians are people too!" guy for a skewering. [Reality interlude: Yes, I really did e-mail her and tell her about that guy in the hopes that she'd write about him.] It occurs to me that other people must be here, that her loyal group of admirers must have all come out for the birth of her kid.
So I walk down the hall until I get to what I know is her room. No one is in it, but as I enter, I see something horrible: She's hung herself on the back of the door before ever going into labor. She's wearing a red robe and she's just dangling there. No telling how long she'd been there, since the entire floor seems devoid of anyone working in the hospital. I leave the room and frantically search for someone, anyone to tell.
I am back in Twisty's room, except now there are about a dozen people there with me. I surmise that they're all internet acquaintances. We are in Twisty's room, mourning. Finally someone speaks up and tells me they know who I am from my pictures and why haven't I said anything? I tell them because I'm the one who saw her dead body dangling there before anyone else knew. At this point I'm an emotional wreck and my belly is giving me fits of discomfort.
I am told unceremoniously — over the phone, I think, almost like an afterthought — that I've lost the baby. My family tells me that they found it in a backpack, like somehow it slipped out of my stomach and into a bookbag and just didn't make it. But I look down and still, there's that belly. It makes sense to me, though; I think back and can't remember being pregnant or having any nausea. I begin to cry and shake because I just don't understand what has happened or what it means for me.
The people in the room are utterly unamused. One even tells me to "get over it." I sniffle and kind of laugh, and say, "This is just like a chatroom." Only I meant "comment thread," because it kind of is. Twisty's commenters can be brutal.