Title: American Widow.
Author: Alissa Torres.
Artist: Sungyoon Choi.
Genre: Fiction, graphic novels, memoir, 9/11.
Publication Date: 2008.
Summary: A graphic memoir about Torres's experience as a widow of the September 11 attacks in 2001. The story is told in non-chronological order, alternating between Torres's post-9/11 experience of widowhood, pregnancy, media attention and bureaucratic nightmares; and backstory about her and her husband Eduardo (Eddie).
My rating: 5/10
You accompanied me to the hospital today in an envelope of large, vibrant pictures taken at the beach on September 9, 2001, our last day together, because I was unprepared for our son to come 3 1/2 weeks early, it was one of the few things I took with me. That and the strange thought that I'd find a new life at the hospital to take home. At that time, I knew hospitals only as the places to go to find death or less, and to come home empty-handed.
I welcomed the grief in the screams of my hard-earned labor. I invited you into each one, mourning you each time as I had not done previously. So badly, I now wanted these moments of unfettered noise that I didn't have to explain. As I screamed, it felt like sex. I invoked you in my mind as the contraction rose to my lips. I remembered your physicality upon me as I rode each wave of pain. My first intense physical sensation in fifty days. It recalled that world of lust and body I used to inhabit, now made manifest only in grief, with each thrust of life.
As my body was torn apart in the rhythmic convulsions, so too was my heart, in the sudden full realization of my loss. The shock had parted during these moments of contraction, as a sun of reality peered in, shining strong on the fact that you were dead and I was still alive and this being bearing the name of tragedy would never know you except as I built you in his memory.
Five hours that felt like five minutes.
And then they anesthetized me.
They said: "Your baby is upside down." I answered under the unwanted haze: "Of course he is; I'm upside down, too."
No one, least of all me, wanted to take chances with a breech delivery. Instead, they handled me kindly, as a V.I.P., because I had a post-9/11 baby to deliver. Gently, gently, they cut the widow open and took out the prize.