The fetus was buried under the peach tree.

Remembering this, I remember other burials more clearly, and I realize I don’t have those quite right either.

The cross, the one Nata gave me as a little girl, is buried with the fetus. I can see a logic in this. Nata wore her grandmother’s cross. Nata gave me a cross to wear. A cross is something to be handed down, and I gave my cross to my baby and it was buried with her.

I may have taken Veroushka’s teddy bear home with me after Nata died, and that might be buried with the fetus also. But I am not sure It feels that way, but I am not sure. I am sure about the cross.

The ring is buried also, but not in the same place. I didn’t bury it at the same time. Remembering it more clearly, I also remember the feelings I had in burying them and the meaning that burying them held for me. They aren’t exactly what I thought they were. It seems to me other parts were watching what happened—they weren’t consulted in what I did, they didn’t have a say in it—and they ascribed a different meaning to it than the actor.

I buried the ring because I could not bury Nata. I could not bury her body or perform anything that might approximate an appropriate ritual to mark the end of the life of a human being. Yuri’s men disposed of her like an animal. They burned her, but it was not a cremation. It was like burning trash.

So it was not a rejection of her or a response to the feeling of being abandoned. It wasn’t anything to do with wanting or needing to forget. It was an attempt to create a ritual, and the ring had a symbolic function in that ritual. She had given it to me. It could stand in for her body. It had to. There wasn’t anything else, except for perhaps the locket, which I still don’t know what happened to.

I keep thinking about shoes in connection with it: When Nata was alive, I hid these things among my shoes. My mother had no interest in the shoes. She wasn’t going to find it there. She had an interest in the laundry—my laundry was my job, but she did it sometimes for me, out of the blue. She had an interest in the contents of my drawers, again with the excuse of the laundry, but it was also about a total lack of boundaries or respect for my growing need for privacy. She had an interest in the trash can and in what I might leave out on my desk or the dresser. But the shoes went untouched. I could hide anything in the shoes and she would never notice as long as that thing were small enough to be concealed among them. So it seems to me the locket had been among the shoes. And then something happened to it. I don’t know what it was.

The strange—obvious, but strange—thing about parts is all these things are going on at the same time, but there is sometimes only one set of motives for a particular act. Other motives might seem reasonably involved, but they just aren’t. They aren’t allowed to be part of decisions at certain times. Things get shut totally off.

I was trying to forget, but that had nothing to do with burying the ring or with burying the cross. The wish to forget was playing out in other ways, but not in that one.

 

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