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October 25, 2018 Fiction

We Get Pregnant

Diana Clarke

We Get Pregnant photo

Secondly, we grow too big. Too big for our house, our legs poking out of windows, our arms out of doors, and our mountainous stomachs have popped the roof off like a soda lid and our navels are the ceiling now. We receive phone calls inviting us to the ocean, (a beach day!) but of course we can no longer fit in the sea. We are too big for open waters. Our friends say, Oh come on, you’re not even that big. And we say, If we bellied into the ocean, like a toddler fallen into a puddle, the water would splash out, tidal wave spill, we would flood cities, the world. Our friends say, Oh please, you’ve just got to get your summer beach body! And we stroke our expectant bulges and we say, Go without us this time.

That all happens secondly, but firstly, firstly we vomit. We barf and barf, everything inside us leaves for good, like fathers packing their bags in the night or boyfriends upon spying a broken condom, every liquid leaves us, stampeding through lips that fight to remain locked, we groan our goodbyes and wipe tears from our eyes and sob into the toilet bowl and the only response is the echo of our own woes, ricocheting off porcelain, like retreating footsteps, soon we are left to our own silence. 

Once the sickness subsides we are hungry. We are so, so hungry. Our stomachs feel empty as churches; the space is so open that even gut grumbles sound holy. We open the refrigerator and eat everything inside. We eat eggs, shells and all, and the crunch sounds like walking on gravel, but the yolks slip down our throats like fine silk. We claw butter from wax paper and fill our mouths with the lard. We chug milk like partygoers, we squirt mustard straight down into the void. The hunger, though, it’s eternal. And it isn’t even our own. 

Later, we feel movement. Intestines turned snake, spleens gone rogue, like an old machine spluttered to life, everything inside writhes and squirms. We feel concerned that we will give birth to something slimier than human. Worm children, slug babies. Their fathers, after all, seemed unhuman, inhumane. 

Don’t worry, says our favourite brave idiot as we all fold into contractions. Like having our insides crumpled in a fist, a bad first draft, to be scrunched and tossed away. These contractions make it clear, these babies want us dead. These babies are their fathers’ babies, violent and heartless. They will follow in their fathers’ footsteps. They will cause such pain. 

We weep and wail, we scratch at our stomachs, wanting to excavate, wanting to extricate. These are not sweet infants, they are greedy viscous monsters and they won’t stop until we are dead and they are free. Our favourite brave idiot says, Don’t worry, the world is overpopulated anyway. She tells us to lie down, and we do, all in rows so we feel like categories. She apologises as she walks across us, no, she stomps, like a creature invading a village, she uses our bloated bellies as stepping stones and she stomps on each one, hoping to crush. 

Once our favourite brave idiot is exhausted, the movement inside us has slowed, sure, but a good huntsman ensures death. An extra bullet or a bat to the skull, we stand, cradling our aching guts, and we shove one another, apologising and apologising all the while, we shove and push and punch. This is how we get our revenge. We didn’t ask for these babies and these babies will not be born. 

image: Kaila Skeet-Browning


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