Vacation was a bit of a bust, and it was more than a little scary flying home the day after the World Trade Center was bombed. Nassau was chilly and rainy, so we spent most of our time in the casino instead of on the beach. The cigarette smoke made me queasy, but I kept that to myself. Last time I puked was into a plastic bag while in the Mercedes, it didn’t get on anything, but Lou swears the car still stinks of my vomit. He actually believes I have some control over the pregnancy nausea, like I throw up on purpose to annoy him. Same logic applies to my neck pain and headaches. I have pain, and he’s the one who gets grumpy and irritable. Most of the time I don’t let it show that I have any pain. We’ve had heart to heart discussions about it, and he says that he can always tell when I am in pain anyway, and I say I can always tell that he’s upset by it. He says he understands I don’t control the muscle spasms and headaches, but it just isn’t any fun being around someone who is in pain. I don’t know what to say when he tells me this. I try not to cry, because he hates that, but I can’t seem to fix the neck problem, and I can’t help that it sometimes shows when I have pain, and I can’t control that it affects him. I get that it is a drag to be around me when my neck hurts or I have a headache, but I do my best to hide it and not let it affect either one of us. I go to work, I do all the housework and cooking, and when he wants to have sex, I’ve never used the clichéd headache excuse.

I’m just starting to show, and my boobs are getting a little bigger. The doctor says everything seems good with the baby and my weight. I’m hoping Lou will go to the next appointment with me and hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It’s fast, and I think that means that it’s probably a girl. We’re kicking around names, and I like Angel for a girl. I have a collection of angels, and Louie calls me Angel sometimes. I don’t have strong opinions for boy names. Lou does not want a Louis William Joy IV. In fact, he is scared that any boy in the family will carry the dreaded family curse, which I say is silly. I still don’t push for details on this alleged curse, but he makes vague references to his father’s alcohol addiction, cheating and lying. Lou is far from an alcoholic. It’s an event to get a six-pack of beer, and even that lasts quite a while, but he says that he could see himself becoming easily addicted if he doesn’t maintain control. When he smoked grass in high school, he got high first thing in the morning, on breaks during the day, and throughout the night. Pot and alcohol are probably what got him on academic warning early in college, but when he returned to school after from taking time off to earn tuition, he was a serious student, and the most sober person at any party.

As far as the cheating and lying part of the curse is concerned, he doesn’t talk about that as it applies to himself. I have my own internal dialog about it, and I don’t think he’s any different from his father in that respect. I do what I can to make him happy to just be with me, but I look at him when we are quiet, and I don’t think he is happy at all. He is often far away and lost in his own world. I made the mistake of commenting on that once, and he freaked out on me, pissed that it was a degrading insult. He is still upset with a teacher who called him a daydreamer, lost in his own little world. I wasn’t trying to be hurtful; it was simply an observation. He sits alone, making dramatic facial expressions, and his head and lips are moving. There’s no sound; it is kind of like watching a television on mute. Sometimes it looks like he’s having a conversation, other times struggling with different alternatives, and often it looks like an argument. He has told me that before he has an important meeting, he does go through a conversation in his mind. I find I do that kind of thing more often after the fact. I’m usually thinking about the brilliant or strong thing I should-a would-a could-a said instead of being quiet or agreeable. I don’t think my lips move though unless I actually speak. I’ve learned not to call him out on any of his animations, and just ask what he’s thinking about. Sometimes he tells me, and sometimes he says, “Nothing,” which is obviously not the case, but it’s his prerogative to keep his thoughts to himself. I do it all the time. But he doesn’t typically ask about my thoughts.

I keep my journals to myself, and he doesn’t know they exist. I don’t know who I’m writing to. Maybe it is to my imaginary childhood friend, named Gunky, who understands, doesn’t get bored when I ramble on like this, and certainly doesn’t judge or repeat what I say. Sounds more than a little odd at my age. Just writing to a diary should be my perspective, but I feel like I am still writing to someone who cares about my life, my feelings, and who gives me some objective feedback. I don’t have any real people in my world to do that anymore. I used to have friends like Kathy, Paul, Bruce, and Alan that I wrote long letters to, and sometimes they even wrote back with ramblings on about their world, and some insights to what I had shared. But I’ve totally lost track of Kathy. Last time I got in touch with Paul was when we lived in North Carolina, and he was happily married and living in the Florida Keys. Bruce got married and had been in serious relationships for a long time, so I’ve distanced myself, so I do not get in the way of his happiness by complicating life. Last time I talked to Alan, he was planning on getting married. I had written to him several times after that, but he never wrote back. I sent one last card acknowledging that fact, and I wished him a good and happy life. I haven’t cheated on Lou in years and would never want to interfere with anyone’s happy marriage, but I miss their friendships. I know they would do anything for us, but we rarely see Nico and Mia. What is it when you only see your closest friends a couple times a year at most? My family seems so far away; even though it’s only a few hours’ drive, I hardly ever see them, and nobody calls. I’ve been lucky to have a close girlfriend at Playtex and HP, but I’m certainly not spilling my guts with my personal life issues.