a little parasite
short fiction | body
(Content warning: pregnancy)
There's life inside me, and I don't know how to visualize it except for a beating grey blob that's pointed out on the monitor by the ultrasound technician. I call the embryo sac a little parasite, because it is what's draining my energy these days, causing me to fall asleep on the couch when I intend to read a book, making me stay home when I intend to go out. Mom doesn't approve of that nomenclature. "Your baby can hear you," she says. "Talk to it, it affects the baby's development."
I refuse. What if, like last year, this one chooses to self-destruct and exit the only space it knows? I don't want to get too attached. I end up alarming myself by how nonchalant I am when I climb stairs two at a time, when I go for an outdoor swim when its cold outside, when I eat packaged salads even though there's been some reports of a possible salmonella outbreak. (The husband didn't approve of the swimming and was quite vocal about it. He didn't see me on the stairs though, and doesn't really read the news.)
I'm courting this tiny little being, that's what I'm doing. I choose to let go of what I can't control and just observe where this relationship goes, like those second-third-then-fourth-dates. I'm essentially protecting myself from a breakup. Keeping it casual.
I am of course taking my vitamins and eating well. Or trying to eat well. What's the point in all that organic produce if I'm going to wake up one day with blood pooled between my legs? I eat my fried chicken and burgers, I treat myself to pastries and puddings. I need the energy. I have cravings. Perhaps the little parasite needs more fats and carbs.
After my 15th week checkup, I'm struck with the realization that this one's a keeper. Or at least promises to be. I'm immediately regretful of the times I missed my fish oil capsule because my heartburn was unbearable, of the many cups of vegetables I should have eaten but could not -- or did not. This semi-human-being has chosen me.
I now find myself caressing my growing abdomen every now and then.
And then one day, I start talking to my little parasite.
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