For some reason, I can't seem to get Angelina Jolie off my mind. Not just Angelina, of course, but also her children, all of them as preternaturally beautiful as she is, as her man is. It's almost as if all six of them were fated to be a family; perhaps they are aliens or other-worldly creatures like nymphs or mermaids, beings that don't really belong on this earth with the rest of us but somehow are.
They have gathered together into a family, pulled together by this woman from all over the world. She went to this country and gathered one baby, then another, found a father for the children, found another baby, made a baby with the man, I can't remember all the details of this myth.
And now she's lying in a hospital in Nice in France, and I keep thinking of her there. I imagine (and this is my story, my imagining) that all of the nurses in that hospital are nuns and that in their secret Christ-loving hearts they feel they were put here on earth to deliver the freshest fruits and warmest breads and sweetest milky drinks to this woman, this goddess, this mythological mother as she grows her babies inside of her. They bring her food and and they take her pulse and they nod happily as her abdomen swells and swells with the life inside of her. They probably all laugh with delight when the babies turn and kick inside, lazy punches that make the skin of the mother dance from the movement within. She is probably the most gracious patient they've ever had, this Angelina woman who is tragically and unbelievably beautiful, even now at this point in pregnancy.
I wonder if these nun nurses surreptitiously finger the silk of the gowns Angelina wears, the flowing soft gowns that barely register on the skin, they are so fine, so light. I wonder if the father flirts with them a little bit, just enough to make them scurry to the chapel to stare at their god on his cross, suffering and dying, to pray and try to remember just why it is they married god and not a man when so obviously, at least one woman was able to do both.
Outside the hospital, the photographers and journalists swarm, probably eating stale bread and drinking cold cups of bitter coffee, always waiting for the father to bring some of the children to see their mother, their cameras at the ready, their bulky equipment, their heavy burdens of the responsibility of delivering the pictures, the news of arrivals of the father, the children, the babies.
And inside, all is peaceful as the mother lies on her bed, those perfect lips, those huge hands and feet, those babies inside her, growing big enough to come out and play with their perfect siblings who have all the colors of all the people on the planet, the most perfect family in the world, perhaps; this or any other.
She is waiting and last year she lost her own mother and I am certain she is thinking of that woman as all women do when they are about to give birth, their mothers, both the real ones they have or have lost and the mothers they wish they had had, a different sort of myth, someone who can take away any pain, who can comfort any fear, who can calm waters and birth pains with one slow caress of the hand, who will touch a daughter's face when her time is at hand who will whisper, "Sssh, sssh, it's fine, be calm, my beautiful girl. It will soon be over, you will have your babies in your arms and you will be so happy."
And I think of those other children, the ones of the already-born part of the family, the black and brown and white ones and I know how much they must miss their mother, that woman who is so strong she can carry two of them at a time on her skinny hips, her thin arms around them like bands of love and protection. I think of the father, how hard he must be working to keep all the children happy, protected from the cameras, the lights, the prying eyes as the mother grows the babies in safety.
I think of the mother, lying in a bed, dreaming of what? Her own mother, all the places she will be taking her family, being patient, being a patient, letting the nun nurses tend to her.
But mostly I think of those babies inside her, this moment of their lives perhaps the most perfect when they do not have to share her with their siblings, their father, or the world who think they own her.
No, for this moment, she is all theirs and why in the world would they want to come out?
And why in the world do I think of them at all?
Because they are myth, they are Father, they are Mother, they are the children of the world, they are beautiful, they are loved, they are not what they are but they are what they are to each of us, that myth that humans need in order to believe that we are speeding towards another existence, one where everyone is safe and held tightly, loved and fed and cherished in the softest light, no matter our color or circumstances of our births.
I can't stop thinking of them, the children, the man, the mother, as I approach another birthday, not knowing where I'm going, unsure of where I've been, growing older and feeling more useless, more anxious with each passing day.
I think back on the days when I was ripe with child, waiting for a new life to begin and although I was no myth, although I was no goddess, I was, somewhere safe in my mind, and it was there I had a mother, that Mother, that myth, who stroked my face, who calmed my fears, who said, "Shhh, shhh, be calm, my beautiful girl, all is well, soon you will be holding your baby in your arms and all will be well," and I clung to that thought until the moment came when I, too, was a mother, the Mother, not a myth, but a real one born of blood and flesh, delivered of perfect babies.
I greeted them with cries of delight, pouring from my mouth, my perfect mother's mouth, and I think of Angelina's lips, how they will move and change when she calls to her new children, when she becomes Mother again, her long arms reaching out to hold them, long arms and strong enough to hold two, and the nun nurses will cross themselves and smile to one another.
The Mother will have been delivered, the babies will have made her myth again.
We need them, the other-worldlies, the unknowable, the unreachable, the perfect, the beautiful.
We have always needed them, the mermaids, the nymphs, the unicorns, the dragons, the father, the son, the holy ghost but mostly the Mother as she cries out, as she strokes the face, as she lies in wait, her body that perfect temple of life.