I had no home.
I really had no friends.
And I had no family.
That is, no family except for the baby forming inside me.
I was sure I felt him move, perhaps to reassure me so I would be strong for the fight that was yet to come.
And don’t doubt it, Delia Yebarra, I told myself, there will surely be a fight to come.
The Only Game in Town
I thought I had been too restricted and confined before, but it was nothing compared to what followed after Dr. Denardo’s visit. In an ironic way, I began to see myself as even more incarcerated than Ignacio, who was in prison. Now I was not to leave the suite to go anywhere in the house without first telling Mrs. Newell. Since the phone in my room still would not call out, and I didn’t have my cell phone anymore, I could speak to no one but those who came to see me or who worked here, just like Ignacio in his prison. I could sneak about and use another phone in the hacienda, but for what? Señor Bovio wouldn’t permit Fani to visit, and, of course, Edward was what Señor Bovio called persona non grata. For now, if he showed his face, it would be like looking at the face of the plague.
None of the other girls I had known at the private school had remained friendly with me after Tía Isabela had me transferred to the public school. They were fair-weather friends, anyway. I was afraid to make friends at the public school. Mi tía Isabela had forbidden me to do anything socially with anyone. There was no point in making friends, and I was ashamed for anyone to see where and how I lived at the time. I really didn’t have anyone else who would or could visit me. Mrs. Newell had already prohibited Teresa from spending any time in my suite other than the time required to clean it and take care of my clothes, linen, and towels. These were the most difficult weeks.
Dr. Denardo stopped by more frequently and finally told me he was pleased with my improvements. The swelling had nearly disappeared, and my blood pressure had returned to an acceptable number, although according to Mrs. Newell, it was never where she would like it to be. She didn’t build my confidence any, either, when she told me not to be too optimistic about myself yet.
“Doctors don’t see patients as well as private-duty nurses, who spend more time and know their patients better,” she said.
“I don’t understand,” I said. “How can a nurse know a patient better than the patient’s doctor does?”
“Dr. Denardo is as good as any doctor under whom I have worked,” she said, “but he has so many other patients. You can’t expect him to pay attention to every little thing about you the way I do, the way any good private-duty nurse would, even with this so-called special attention he’s giving you. Believe me, he is not doing anything for you that any other doctor would not do if you went to his or her office. Any special attention you get comes from me and me only.”
I thought she was telling me all of this simply to make herself look more important, but it was still disturbing. Without having anyone with whom I could discuss these problems and fears, I felt even more alone. I began to sleep later and later in the morning, took frequent naps, and took far less care of my appearance. Some mornings, I didn’t even brush out my hair, and whenever Señor Bovio suggested that he call in the beautician and the manicurist, I told him I didn’t want them. I told him I didn’t have the patience for them. When he looked surprised, I added that I couldn’t sit still that long, and he nodded, thinking it all had to do with my discomforts from the pregnancy.
Dr. Denardo had warned me about depression. I was in my third trimester. Almost all of his patients start to feel sorry for themselves then, he said.
“They think they look so bloated and distorted, they are terribly self-conscious, and many withdraw.”
I couldn’t withdraw any more than I was, being practically locked away, so that warning didn’t faze me. Everything about my situation, right from the beginning, lent itself to my becoming more and more depressed. I had no family to surround me with the joy of expectation. Instead, I had only the woman Fani had aptly named Nurse Diablo and an emotionally crippled older man. Why shouldn’t I walk about with a long face?
I think Señor Bovio realized all of this, too. He couldn’t have been more attentive. He continued to have Mr. Blumgarten show up to present me with new clothing, even though I pointed out that I wasn’t going anywhere and it didn’t look as if I would in the near future. I had enough to wear. The garments building up on the rack began to look silly to me. I practically chased the poor man out of my bedroom, piling the clothes on the bed to show him how ridiculous it had all become.
“You know it, too!” I screamed. “You just want to make more money.”
He fled, and Señor Bovio promised not to bring him back.
He did bring me piles of new magazines, DVD movies, books, and even crossword-puzzle books in an attempt to make me happier about being so confined. And then, one night, he came in with one of the DVD movies in which his wife had acted.
“I have something very special to show you,” he began. “Normally, it’s painful for me to watch these now, but with you, I thought watching it might be different. This,” he announced with some flair, “is one of my wife’s films.”
I had no idea why it would matter if I saw it with him, but I let him insert the DVD into the machine and sat with him as the movie began. Seeing Adan’s mother in the film made me think more about him. I could see the resemblances in their gestures and facial expressions. Señora Bovio was a very good actress, too, and even more attractive than she was in the pictures of her I had seen. She had a beautiful voice and was quite sexy.
I was absorbed in the film, but from time to time, I looked at Señor Bovio and saw that he was staring at me with a soft smile on his lips.
“She was very beautiful,” I told him, thinking that perhaps he was waiting for me to comment.
“Sí. She and I often sat here and watched her films together. Sometimes, Adan would be here as well, especially when he was just a little boy, but only if it was a film we thought it was all right for him to see,” he quickly added. “And when she was off somewhere making another film, he and I would come in here to watch one of her previous movies. Although we have the ent
ertainment center downstairs, we’d rather see the films in here. It helped us to feel she was close by. Just as I feel she is now,” he concluded, and smiled. “You understand, I’m sure.”
He looked around and closed his eyes. “I can feel her with us,” he whispered. “With you. With our baby.”