String Theory

Margaret Cho “I don’t know where sorrow is anymore . . .”

Such a lovely, haunting line, makes a person want to draw out the novel behind those words. Oh, yeah, that’s what it’s like, you hear a title—in the world, in your head—and if you can catch the end of that string—not easy—and have learned the patient art of holding—pulling—it’s rather like giving birth, in that you are an essential part of the process but not exactly in control. It’s a whole lot like a birth. I had to deliver a baby alpaca once when her exceptionally dimwitted mother kept spinning around to see what in god’s name was happening to her behind, the feeb. Fortunately she was a smallish animal—alpaca are not as large as llamas, nor do they spit as much. In fact, they reminded me, in style and personality, of nothing so much as cats.

So I had to brace her and work with the incredible power of the contraction. She certainly needed help—but you can only help in rhythm to the contractions. Which are expulsions. A series of expulsions, and she’s whirling around, and somehow I got the baby out and the cord cut. But I’ll tell you, if you’ve never been on the other end of a birth, you haven’t touched the Power. And when you do, you will know forever that you have touched something bigger than words can tell. Are supposed to tell. The really fine things remain nameless.

We tied the cord with a piece of string. In two places, and cut it between. I seemed to be the only person involved who wasn’t afraid. Afraid? Hell, been through it twice myself. I held still.