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Mother

A short piece of fiction I wrote as a character study a few weeks back and am now dedicating to all the mothers out there (and most especially to my own mother). You’re each more courageous than I can dare to imagine. Happy (belated) Mother’s Day.

-Jessica


Mother.

The word echoes in my head and I almost forget what it means.

Suddenly that word to which I had dedicated so much consideration trembles on the tip of my tongue — just another confused collection of consonants and vowels.

I’m supposed to be happy. After all, we’d decided it was time to start trying.

But as I stare at the pregnancy test quivering in my fingers I can’t seem to move past the word.

Mother.

I realize that I’ve no idea how to be one. Or how I got to here: alone in my bathroom, clutching the test and all I can think is that I’m not ready to be a mother — that I might never be ready.

And how is it possible that I would only discover this now — in the moment when life has already been planted, seed sprouting into embryo — a tiny clump of cells dividing and differentiating.

Becoming not-me. Becoming other.

I smooth my palm over the flat planes of my belly. It seems unimaginable that soon I will swell with new life.

“Gravid” — from the Latin “gravis” meaning “heavy”.

I have never felt so grave, so heavy, as I feel now, in this moment in which my life seems to be pouring from between my fingertips, even as life is re-born of a single flickering spark — poised on the brink of bursting into flames.

I fear that there will be nothing left of me but ashes when that flame has burned its way into the world — borne out from between my blooded thighs.

Mother.

The word rattles around inside my head and I can feel my atomic structures reassembling to make room for some newer, bigger person I must be becoming.

My hand presses firmly into the flesh of my belly, knowing that there is nothing to feel. The baby (baby!) is not yet bigger than a grain of rice — hardly larger than a dream.

Mother.

I roll the word across my tongue, stretch it out over my skin and am surprised to find that it threatens to fit — just barely — around the size and shape of what it already means to be me.

 

As always, I’d love to hear from you! What did you think of this piece? Leave your comments below.

 

2 comments

  1. lori macfarlane says:

    You brought tears to my eyes and joy to my heart. You did an amazing job of capturing the moment.

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