The prospect of writing the words “me too” on Facebook has filled me with dread each time I’ve gotten close. This morning I read a friend’s post expressing similar feelings and it made me recall this essay. I’ve decided to share it here.
That woman is me
by Jillian Myrom, Minnesota Women’s Press, July 29, 1992
I’ve never seen a dead body before. I didn’t expect that feeling of numbed comprehension, the awe that comes over me as I stand at the window with the other secretaries looking out at the scene at 8 a.m.
Any other day, we have the best view in the building, looking up a sloping grassy hill with the St. Paul Cathedral looming over the top. Majestic. Idyllic.
Today there are several policemen lining the road at the top of the hill. The body is at a distance from them, lying at the foot of a tree. Behind her is a low wrought-iron gate which scales the hill; behind the gate is a forest. Continue reading
Two years to the day after we flew to Berlin for a family sabbatical, I separated from my husband. It wasn’t Berlin’s fault. And maybe it wasn’t M’s either. But things were put into motion during that yearlong hiatus from our so-called real life that a separation had shifted imperceptibly from the category of impossible to damn near inevitable. Continue reading
I don’t know when it was that I started having morbid thoughts each time I fly. They happened again last Friday morning, when in the moments before takeoff from Minneapolis I’d been having perfectly rational thoughts like which armrest was rightfully mine and whether I ought to claim it now, and whether the baby one row back was likely to cry for the whole ride or just for takeoff. But these thoughts scattered as the plane rounded the last curve and the runway yawned into view, when we straightened out and paused like a gymnast anticipating her mount and the engines roared to life and we started barreling down the runway and the only thought left was, Well, Jill, this is it.
I was still seated at my office desk yesterday at 5:05 p.m., the day before my vacation was to start, when my boss stepped into my office for the first time that day. By then I’d already shut down my computer. I was adding some files to an accordion folder before me, so I could throw it in my bike bag to take home. I’d be out of the office for over two weeks. I was pushing the limits of my vacation time and felt a little uncomfortable about it. I saw no choice but to take some work to finish from the road. Continue reading
There was a time when our oldest was quite young, maybe six or so, and a family friend was visiting, an eight-year-old boy named Forrest. We were driving somewhere around town in Minneapolis when M and I overheard Forrest in the back say to S, “Okay, now let’s pretend there’s a hot lava situation,” and M nearly drove off the road, it was so ridiculously cute. And ever since, M and I will say it to each other, “It’s a bit of a hot lava situation,” or a variation thereof. Continue reading