A story about story. A most unusual story...
I usually blog in the late afternoon when the kids are smothered by their own energy and the sun is settling on setting. I've heard this called the "crossroads" time of day--the transitional time from day into night. But it's also the hardest time of day to be a mother, I've found, it seems the children's needs peak as my vitality dwindles. It's somewhat of a bewitching hour for my sanity, I find I'm prone to be irrational. And so I excuse myself for two hours to write and think while someone (their father or a babysitter) downstairs takes the children to the park, or otherwise runs out their energy to prepare for dinner, nightfall and sleep.
It was this time of day--the sun setting my west-facing windows to blaze across my back--I decided to start blogging again after a few month's absence. The horror of pregnancy sickness had left me in a dreary state of ambivalence for anything requiring intelligence. My blog collected dust as I coughed and heaved and crawled my way through twenty grueling weeks of all-day sickness. But there was to be another baby in the late winter, and the thought of a newborn breathing on my neck was enough to endure.
But as I logged into my blog's dashboard I was surprised to find dozens of unpublished posts written daily dating back to the last post I published. According to my blog's record, I had been writing all along, without publishing a single post. Although, I did not remember writing at all, there before me was written proof that in fact, I had been.
I called to my husband downstairs who was in the process of wrangling shoes on three unwilling children. "No shoes no ice cream!" I heard him yell.
"Chup, have you been writing on my blog?"
"What?" he yelled back.
"Did you write posts on my blog and not publish them?" I asked again.
"I don't know what you are talking about," he responded. And then again, "I said, no shoes no ice cream!"
And then like water down a drain, I heard the kids voices taper off as they headed out the door.
Then it was quiet in my house.
My eyes returned to the dashboard where dozens of alien posts stared back at me. I figured I should probably read, from the beginning, the words I couldn't remember writing. Perhaps I was about to discover I had a secret hacker on my hands. This was investigative and curious.
August 20, 2013 was the first post. I clicked on it and saw a few words, no pictures.
Today was not a good day. My pregnancy is not going well. I was finally persuaded to go to the doctor to see why I feel so awful. Tests were done. Should hear something back tomorrow.
And the next day August 21, 2013:
We heard back today at 7pm tonight. My blood tests were "alarming" I don't really know what that means, and either did our doctor. But he's going to consult some specialist and we'll see in a couple days what this all means. I am tired. Thanks for your kind comments.
The next time I wrote was August 26, 2013, my husband's birthday:
Today is Chup's birthday and it's probably the worst one ever. The specialist finally called back today to say I have something toxic going on in my body. It seems I'm growing more than a baby, perhaps a disease too. I feel really weak and I can't keep anything down. Anyway, happy birthday Chup! I love you so much. We're going to get through this!
At that point I stopped. I was in a state of alarm, my mind raced wondering who wrote these posts? Who was logging into my blog daily to write such an awful story about me? I felt an uneasy sickness in my stomach. I started to sweat. From inside my baby was kicking away at me as if reminding me to breathe. I took a breath and clicked on the next post.
August 27, 2013:
I didn't sleep last night. Dear Readers, if you pray will you pray for me and my family? I feel like things are not going to end well. Chup thinks I'm going to be ok. But I fear this isn't that simple.
Thankfully my mom brought us dinner tonight. I am going to see if I can eat. No news from any of my doctors today. My neighbor did stop by, but I haven't been able to tell people what is going on, because I don't even know yet.
August 29, 2013:
More test results. I don't have cancer. But I have something. My skin is starting to peel off. It's really odd. At night I itch and itch and it comes off in sheets--like a sunburn but way worse. Chup is going out of town tomorrow for work. My parents will be here helping. Please pray someone will find out what is wrong with me.
I felt like I might vomit. I scrolled through more posts, more of the same subject matter. Progressively the posts became more horrific in detail and premise. I read through gruesome detail about an atrocious and diseased demise--in what was apparently my own words. I started to shake so badly my teeth were knocking together five times the rate of my heartbeat. I clicked on the last post in the series.
But I couldn't focus. It was like the office walls were melting around me. In my ears I could hear a groaning sound, which after a few seconds I realized was coming from my own throat. I took another breath and asked my eyes to follow the letters in the post:
September 24, 2013:
Hi everyone, this is Chup. It saddens me to say we lost our beloved Courtney (Cjane) tonight. Thanks for your love and support over the past few weeks. We've decided to keep the funeral plans private. We're certain you understand, given the situation. I know my wife dedicated a lot of time to this blog and I wish I could keep it up for her, but it would be too heart breaking. So, we've decided to end it here. Thanks for your goodness to my wife and to our family.
At this point in the reading I felt like I shouldn't be alone. I was afraid someone was either in my house writing these posts without me knowing, or logging into my account from another computer wishing a terrible death upon me. Either way I was incoherent--unable to think clearly--as though my brain was suffering from actual paralysis. I wanted to delete each post and forget I ever read those words shaping such a horrendous story. I started crying, heaving.
I ran outside to see where Chup and the kids had trailed off to, but they were nowhere in sight. The sky was now darker than it was light, and the street lights were waking up down the lane. Yellow leaves blew towards the mountains behind me. I looked up to see the last little marks of sunlight on the tips of the snow-capped peaks. It felt as if the whole city was deserted and I was the only one still alive.
Just then Chup and the children rounded the corner and I could see them coming towards me in the twilight. I waved them down with relief. When he was close enough, I said to my husband with a in my rattling voice,
"Please come upstairs, there is something I need to show you."
"Why are you crying?" he asked as he came closer.
"I need to show you something on the computer."
The kids ran ahead into the house now lit by the automatic lights in the front room. We followed them briskly through the front room, up the stairs and down the hall into the office--now glowing blue from the patient screen saver on our large monitor.
"Look at these posts," I ordered Chup as I sat down in the office chair and started scrolling.
Except, there was nothing there. The posts had been deleted. August 19th, September 12th, September 25th when I wrote about muscle testing on my uterus--all the posts I had written remained. But the grueling posts about an alternate existence were gone. Erased. Non-existent.
"What?" Chup asked anxiously. "Have you been reading GOMI again?"
"No...it's...there were posts I didn't write...but they are gone..." I said staring at the screen--the very screen which earlier told me--in explicit detail--about my own death.
"Did you delete them?" Chup asked me.
"Did I? I don't think I did. But I wanted to..." I wasn't sure of anything at that point.
"I don't understand?" he asked again.
"I don't either." I whispered.
And I still don't.
Except, the next day I read an article about lab rats experiencing signs of psychosis due to hormone levels during pregnancy. And I suppose it could be a possibility: while writing during that uncertain time of day, in a state of heightened hormones, I wrote those posts under a spell of pregnancy-induced psychosis. And in my fear-intensified insanity I also deleted them before they could be read by another human being.
Or perhaps the posts were never there to begin with. Perhaps my hormone-soaked brain produced them for that afternoon only. Perhaps it was just a short trip into a strange madness.
But just to be safe, I changed my password.
I'll never tell what it is.