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July 1, 2012, vol 8, no 2

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Cara Holman

Missed Beat

It always begins the same way. Your heart/lungs/baby shows a little abnormality/glitch/anomaly on the x-ray/CT scan/MRI. But I'm sure everything's okay, they hasten to add. Come back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and we'll recheck. And then they smile, and you smile, and you come back Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and they just run their little test again, or sometimes a bigger more definitive one, but either way it's okay because then they smile and say everything's okay and you smile again because to be honest the little scare had you a little worried but now it's okay and you don't have to come back for another month/six months/ year except this time she isn't saying it's okay in fact she isn't saying anything at all and her eyes are fixed on the screen not on you which is never a good sign and when you ask if the baby is okay or… but here you pause because you can't quite bring yourself to say the word and she finally say "it's difficult to say" which you know it isn't because even you can read a real-time sonogram of a fetus: pulsing heartbeat – alive, no movement – but there, you still can't say it.

the piccolo player
hits a wrong note