They say if you want love, to make it. Just before you took your place, I imagined you into my life and paved a chamber in my gut for you. A highway running through my epicentre, the only place you belong while your limbs and brain prepare themselves for my arms. I used to worry and wonder about whether the home I’d prepared, the one you’d inhabit, was it good enough for you? Was it, is it, cosy enough? The temperature, the climate, does it shift? I wonder if it snows blood in there. How slowly will you grow to know air moving if you’ve never known it? No wonder babies cry continuously when they are born. They’re pinched by the devil, so they’re busy healing, fine-tuning, modifying, adjusting.
We passed all the food spots on the way. I wanted to eat it all, Chinese, Thai and Italian though I felt just as quickly that I wanted nothing at all. The pain raced hot through me just as slowly as it had crept in. I focused not yet wishing to die. That would come later. I felt myself pulling away. The brick red building ignited all my fears. I never wanted to return here. Lightning struck through the violent core of my body. Was I dying?
The alchemy of growing life still eludes me. Is it a wonderland where you are? A playground maybe, because your kicks are jubilant. They are applauded, a cure for my anxieties. Quite often, I rub my tummy as if you can respond yet. I’m sure your kicks are delayed hellos in the dark, wet, warmth you reside in. What does it feel like growing small bones? Please know that you are as rare as sea glass, and though life has been imitated many times, you are matchless because you are mine. You are wonder and priority, my best friend already.
When they tried to wheel me into theatre, my body jolted like lightning turning sand to glass. I sucked hard on the poison that would veil the pain and like a sea that’s been boiled, I washed away a season of my life, slowly. I want to spew up the weight of pregnancy suddenly, the eeriness of too many lights. I gagged, covering my mouth. The nightmarish tampering of chemicals rendered me suddenly motionless. Before theatre, I was broken bone and cartilage being dissected. My body had been splintering, ripping, opening, manoeuvring for days now. I had to come undone for my life’s work to be born. My body’s vengeance had all at once arrived. Again, I jolted and boomed.
Is there a nook that’s your favourite yet? Are the liquids floating around you abundant enough to hold such a precious thing? Do I move around too often? Can you feel me puttering? Do you feel where I am going perhaps? I hear your ears have fully formed now. They’re miniature, but still, can you hear me? Do you actually hear your daddy’s voice? Maybe I yell now and then and my anger, it infects and ricochets. Remember that even winter, whose intention is to cool, sets its trees aflame occasionally.
There was a fine line, a gap, of what could be and what could not. My grave had opened in the moment they told me, “You need to push harder. Your baby is struggling.” The scurrying of the midwives, the beeps of the machines, had all come to feel like a clenched fist readying itself to hurt me, to bludgeon me. All my life, childbirth had scared me though I’d never known or felt it. Yet the taste of the summer air readied me for blood and lots of it. But I’m aware, for a star to be born some sort of nebula must collapse. My destruction was needed to appease my unborn child.
These days, and you will learn about this in the years to come, there’s panic over borders, walls, and approaching enemies. Don’t fret, I will protect you, love. There’s also heat, too much of it, not like light that’s been gathered, that’s what you are, a joyful glow. No, rather like there’s been a crime. We live in the scene. Someone has created lesions in the sky and it’s overpowering us with a fear of reckoning. But fear not, like a recession that empties, I will always fill you up. Human intervention, you will soon find that we need to learn to forgive, for it happens too often. It will affect the seasons,your summers and winters, so please enjoy your current accommodation. There’s the sea, too. It’s watery like the place you reside in now. It is rising like nausea every day. We are afraid of water breaking us. But water helps you breathe where you are now, and forms part of this safe house. A part of me wants to keep you there forever.
I find my heart quicken sometimes. I think more deeply about children with cancer, with tumours, the small kids with heart conditions and nothing to eat. The neglected ones. Ones whose parents may have left them on a dusty doorstep and ran to their getaway car. I’ll admit, I make judgments on things I’ve seen, or heard of. I’ve cried, unsure why. I find myself wondering about things so peculiar and misty, that I wonder if my body has been traded for another. I wonder if my brain has been washed out.
You still haven’t got here, but you are reaching your place. We are aging together, riding a carousel of moments and it’s brilliant. Your smallness makes me feel regal and I’ve developed a feverish obsession with your movements, the same way I cannot wait for summer this year. Every change in the weather reflects strength in miniaturization, which I’ve grown to love. A leaf here or warm wind there, all means you are coming to be mine. My inner life will arrive.
There was a dark tiredness hovering over me. It reminded me that I’d been disposed to the world and its zaps for days now. Doctors, deep water and voices. So many voices. You seem startled by my doom; your quickening movements became limited quickly. I could not breathe and the air seeping into me turned sour. I almost neglected my duties. I almost renounced. I was unsettled, in a way that rendered me speechless. Being in that place felt like sitting in the belly of fear, a fear that rallied around crying for help, and I suddenly became fully aware of a heat pounding at my ears. I didn’t fight it. Instead, I managed to summon up thoughts of the only photograph I had of you. Still, photos sometimes manage to minimize the exactness of feeling, no matter how reflective. I hope you were happy there darling.
By the end, my breath was raspy; I felt life slipping away. I was in a passing place, on my way to the dirt. In my confusion, I see the geography of my memories like books, stacked together in my gas and air high. I become a wedge of body when my mother asks me to eat food, when my husband consoled my contractions, when my need to survive outweighed the pain. I was teetering in the precipice, limber with my thoughts. Beeps and coughs. Paperwork and attack. ‘‘Push!’’ I couldn’t.
Idman Omar is a new mother and recent MA Creative Writing graduate from London, England. She has previously been published in The Good Journal, Entropy, Gal-Dem, Wry Ronin and Litro Online.