Recurring Dog & Rare Thing (9 Years, 13 Dreams)

Helen Betya Rubinstein


October 25, 2005

My family with Ben Jacob's family, which had lots of girls, happy, dating girls. We all looked at a wife's jewelry, and then Ben came in with a baby on his back—happy. The wife was his. And I started to cry because I might not ever have a baby. And Mom said, "It's all right, Helen. Let it out."

August 24, 2006

I drank the leftovers of a concoction to get pregnant with a mixed-breed dog.

August 4, 2007

I was eight months pregnant and I felt so pregnant, could feel what it felt like, the heaviness—

November 24, 2008

Damn. Jay Leno wanted to marry me and was being super nice to my friends as a result. Already three MFA students each night were on his show. He had old-fashioned views on marriage. Carrying things for me, being kind—but not really falling in love. Would he pay attention, go above and beyond with my friends on the show that night? or would he treat them like the rest, reading a script? He wanted to have kids with me (that was old-fashioned). As for my decision, I'd wait and see.

June 26, 2009

Was getting married, in a red dress, at Touro Synagogue's chapel, to someone I didn't love. "Tyler." The red dress was supposed to be a hint. Duh. Could Mom tell that I didn't want to do it? I couldn't tell. You look beautiful, Aunt Sandra was saying, but I could see her thinking, Red.

August 9, 2009

I died and went to heaven and a Jewish dog, a golden retriever, watched over me, and I introduced him to my ex-boyfriend: See?

December 19, 2009

Remembering the dog we used to have, eight years ago. A dog so ugly it looked like a glass bottle; so stray that when my sister was walking it and it got lost and we found it—looking just like a medical waste container—we couldn't be sure it was it. But oh, what a grave it had. We were there to see the grave. And Mom had built a bench and on it were poems and little messages and photos of the whole extended family—and somehow the dead dog, which, with my sister, had led some procession around the time of the hurricane—somehow it was connected to the HUGE SUCCESS of our football team, which was winning unexpectedly, 8-0 or more, scoring all these bonus points, dessert points—all somehow connected to our ugly, short-lived, much-loved dog.

October 14, 2010

Mom and I were walking from the airport and saw a bald eagle flying by. It was so huge and amazing-looking I almost passed out. Looking into its eyes, thinking what a rare thing of beauty. Also there was going to be a $5/month fee for crawling back into your mother's uterus . . . $60/year and I was wondering was it worth it . . . for a break in that airy space.

January 21, 2012

The baby was from someone from New Zealand or Nicaragua, and I knew it was going to be a redhead even though I didn't know the father.

January 1, 2013

This Mom-like figure who'd been taking us on a road trip had the baby she'd concocted herself a few weeks early—if she'd known it was coming she wouldn't have led the trip. The baby was grown and had special needs, and she and this mother had corresponded somehow before she was born. The mother had lots of animals, a dog bounding toward her as she opened the trunk of her car, and I wondered about buying animals just to make yourself feel needed—if she was aware of needing to feel needed, and if it was OK with her that that's all she was doing.

February 7, 2013

Was reading aloud someone's essay, with things pasted in (sugar packets, pens . . .) and the last were a pair of deodorants, one very standard and down to business, and the other with a picture of a baby on it and called ROMANTIC. And when I read the ending, "SAY YES NOW," Terry grinned so warmly at the baby picture on the deodorant that the baby laughed back at him, crazy cute and a delight.

August 2, 2013

A party involving a confected landscape, miniature and all made of sugar. I didn't feel good cuz I was pregnant but the baby hadn't grown—and it turned out I had this rare condition where I'd be pregnant for twenty-four months instead of nine.

September 3, 2014

In class, I asked someone to tighten the straps of my maternity pad slash uterus. My baby had just started to move, a lot, and after the straps were tightened she poked out her redheaded, pigtailed, totally clean face, and said, "Hello mother," and then "Can I have some milk?"