"'What happens if your choice is misguided?' I ask, softly.
Miss Moore takes a pear from the bowl and offers us the grapes to devour. 'You must try to correct it.'
'But what if it's too late? What if you can't?'
There's a sad sympathy in Miss Moore's catlike eyes as she regards my painting again. She paints the thinnest sliver of shadow along the bottom of the apple, bringing it fully to life.
'Then you must find a way to live with it.'"
A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray
Twelve years ago a boyfriend broke up with me and for a year I lived wildly and recklessly. I threw out everything I had been with him and I got to know myself again, the wild, crazy parts I had lost with him. It was a good year in retrospect, very painful and intense at times but full of memories of my strength and a me that I liked and wanted to be. A while later I had an abnormal pap smear followed by panic and the conization that has had doctors tut tutting at the length of my cervix ever since.
I wonder at times if that's the cost of that year. The experiences of friends who have also had abnormal pap smears reassure me that it's not; it's just something that happens to some people, and at least it wasn't HIV or full-blown cancer. There are other choices I wonder about, that I play with, over and over again. I wonder about the train trip we took during my second pregnancy; if it had a role to play in the loss. I wonder about rejecting a doctor's advice which my current doctor is now suggesting and which I would probably do if I ever fell pregnant again. I wonder if I had followed it if I would have avoided these disastrous years.
"What's the point of this sort of question?" H asks me angrily. I don't know, it's just a bad habit. In the end, they are just the choices I have made and I have to find a way to live with them. Reading about regrets in Libba Bray's A Great and Terrible Beauty, they seem romantically tragic and I am able to view them with a comfortable sense of distance. Art helping us to deal with pain, I guess. That and cycling home. Must cycle more.