Conversation with a Stranger

I went to yoga yesterday.  After the emotions of the weekend, I was not sure that I was ready to go back and put that much energy into 90 minutes, but I forced myself to go.  The instructor was one of the more interactive: she constantly offers encouragement and corrections during the dialogue.  During Standing Separate Leg Stretching pose (Dandytamana – Bibhaktaeada – Paschimottanasana), she came over to me and kept saying “lock your knees, lock your knees, there you go – you got it!”  The exertion caused a cramp in my leg, so I had to sit out the next posture, but then I picked myself up and kept going.

I was fine until we reached the first savasana.  Two minutes of silence and focus to prepare for the second half of class.  I started crying, and could not stop.  I mindfully tried to keep my sobs quiet so as not to disturb the other people in the class.  After savasana is the floor series, so no one could really see me.  I sat out several more postures as I attempted to get control of myself, but I couldn’t.  I couldn’t.  As I continued to lay on my back the instructor came over and said “you’re fine, you’re doing great.”  Perhaps she thought that pushing me in the one posture had caused frustration on my part.  She brought over a tissue and gave my hand a squeeze.

At the end of class, as I was leaving she started to say “We all have days in the hot room that are hard…” and I said “No, that’s not it.”  I could barely get out the words “Last year, on Labor Day weekend, I had a stillborn baby.”  She had me sit in the lobby, and she sat next to me.  I was keenly aware of how close she sat to me, so that her shoulders pressed against mine, like she was holding me up.  She started to say “It’s ok” but then corrected herself “It’s not ok, but you are here.  You came today.  You took some time today to take care of yourself.”

I started to tell her about how I had started yoga because of needing to deal with the loss.  She tried to encourage, and say “You don’t know, you may have great things waiting for you.”  I shook my head.  “No, I don’t think so.  I had another loss in February of this year.”  I could see the look on her face – the look I always fear when I add that dimension to the story; now people really don’t know what to say.  One loss happens, but two?  I wanted to say “Have you noticed the tattoo on my back?  Four dates.  Four children.”

She again reiterated that I don’t know what the future will hold, and to keep hoping.  I wanted to add that I have two older children, but what was the point?  Was the point that I could have children?  The fact that I already have children didn’t make me want Nelle or Iris any less.  I wear rings around my fingers for all four of my children.  During hot yoga, I have to remove the rings with the initials of the boys, because of the shape and they interfere with interlacing my fingers.  The ring inscribed with the names of my girls endures the sweat of the class.

It was one of those “she doesn’t know what to say.  But she’s trying.”  As I gathered up my belongings, she encouraged me to take some time for myself that day, go get a pedicure or something.  With a wry smile, I told her that yoga was my time for myself.

Later in the day, I was driving.  I listened to Chopin, the Nocturnes.  The effect of the precision of his music was serene.  That was my moment for myself.  Alone, in the car, with a few moments of calm.