|Product dimensions:||5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.54(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Sarah Bilston
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright ©2006 Sarah Bilston
All right reserved.
I haven't written a diary since I was twelve. Wait, that's not true. I kept one for about six months when I started dating Mike Novak. I still have the notebook somewhere, a scruffy green ring-binder half filled with teenage angst about Mike and his terrible kissing and his lamentable desire for a student nurse named Susie.
Writing a diary seems like an admission you have nothing better to do. It's the life story of a person who doesn't have a life. And frankly, I'm not sure that anybody's existence is worth recording for posterity, unless you're a world leader or a Theatrical Great or something. Maybe not even then. I read my grandmother's diary once, it was all about the weather and her trips to the Women's Institute and the progress of her runner beans. I'd rather leave no record of my existence than that. I'd rather my life was a big blank page, so my future granddaughter can imagine me as a toothsome lovely whose youth was one long succession of olive-skinned, silk-shirted men.
On the other hand, when you really don't have anything better to do, writing a diary is as good a way of passing the time as any other. It makes the hours and minutes seem less of a vacuum -- I thought, I felt. I existed. I suppose I'll just have to hide this bookfrom any future granddaughters.
This afternoon, I left my office early, just before three. I work at -- wait, why am I telling myself this? I know where I work.
Time for the first admission. I'm an anxious obsessive. I hate gaps and omissions; I have to record everything. That green ring-binder started out normally enough ("Mike Novak has a tanned chest and nipples that flush brown when I pull them with my teeth") but by page five it was more like a scrapbook, filled with lists of the important people in my life (1. Mum. 2. Mike. 3. Our cat) and terrible poetry ("Mike has gone and my life is / A dark page / A black night / A bottomless sea / Of / Unequalled Misery"). As soon as I get a pen in my hand, or a computer keyboard beneath my fingers, I can't stop myself, there it is, the contents of my brain in black and white, facts and fictions, thoughts, details, imaginings, everything.
And anyway, if I'm reading this in fifty years, I'll probably have forgotten things like the name of my law firm. My memory will be going, and it'll be really irritating to find that my younger self failed to record the nitpicky details of her life. So here goes.
I work at the law firm of Schuster & Marks, in New York City, on Fifty-fifth and Fifth. Today I locked my office door just before three, leaving the printer spewing out the pages of a brief I need to proofread before tomorrow morning. I flung myself through the heated revolving doors at the front of my building and out into an arctic February afternoon. Fifteen yellow cabs tooled past, their snug passengers watching, emotionlessly, the heavy pregnant woman in a sodden camel coat dancing up and down on the sparkling cold sidewalk (I forgot the important bit, I was twenty-six weeks' enceinte on Monday, yesterday). Nothing for it, I thought helplessly, as icy water prickled at my eyelashes. I pulled up my collar, clasped my hands around my enormous belly, and ran the eleven blocks uptown to my obstetrician's office through crowds of scurrying pedestrians, their faces stretched taut against the freezing wind.
Dr. Weinberg's office is as elegant as a Chelsea art gallery. Abstract lithographs in hushed silver frames decorate the waiting room. The receptionist peers out from behind a tall, slender glass vase stocked with impossible-looking South American orchids, pearly white with a faint pink flush and deep, jaundiced yellow throats. The doctor herself is an inordinately well-preserved fifty-something with high cheekbones, a narrow, burgundy mouth, and hair that seems to have suffered a serious shock midfluff.
After a few preliminary questions she set about prodding my stomach, pushing hard under my ribs and diaphragm. She produced a coiled fabric tape measure and measured from my pubes to just above my navel. Then she slid across the floor on her wheelie stool, leafed through the pages of a large pink file, and finally looked at me over the rim of her rectangular steel spectacles. "You're measuring small," she said.
Huh? I thought; I'm enormous. Children point at me in the streets. Workmen -- oh-so-kindly -- tell me the way to the hospital. I wear trousers with huge nylon gusset panels in the front and extra folds of elastic hidden in the waistband, and by the evening I still feel like I'm strapped into an instrument of torture.
Small? I said to her. Small? In relation to what?
She explained that the top of my uterus wasn't where it should be -- i.e., halfway to my chin -- and sent me for an immediate ultrasound. I called Tom (my husband, in case I develop really galloping Alzheimer's in the future) in a panic from the waiting area, but before he could leave his meeting at the Federal Courthouse I found myself in a darkened sonography room three doors down from Dr. Weinberg's office. A heavyset, expressionless woman with short graying ash-blond hair, a white coat, and loose beige trousers glanced up at me as I entered. She looked as if she'd spent most of her life underground. Her pale round face gleamed oddly in the gray-white light of a computer monitor.
"Onto the table, please," the woman said, nodding curtly at the examining couch beside her. She turned away and busied herself finding and inserting a disc into the computer, which whirred and clicked respectfully. I heaved myself up and exposed my white whale belly, feeling suddenly vulnerable, longing desperately for a bit of reassuring girly chatter ("Nothing to worry about, I'm sure, I see this all the time, it's no big deal"). . . .
Excerpted from Bed Rest by Sarah Bilston Copyright ©2006 by Sarah Bilston. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
“Even if you’ve never been pregnant you’ll be as instantly hooked on this addictive novel as I was. ”
“Prescribe yourself the same so that you can bask in the humor and warmth of this gorgeous novel.”
“[H]onest and irreverent ... I laughed out loud and I couldn’t put it down.”
“Sarah Bilston reads like Sophie Kinsella’s big sister—a bit more serious, a little wiser, just as irresistable.”