Japanophile _ Part 1 A Story by Yuri Kageyama

I woke up this morning with the certainty that I had just given birth.
The sensation was unforgettable, a soreness, more like a heaviness, at the pit of my lower stomach below my navel, that could remember a brutal tugging, tearing away at my insides, leaving me raw and bleeding. I could feel that warm wetness at my vagina, making my skin chilly as I sensed the liquid spread and clung to the sheets.
Having a truck run over you must leave you with this same feeling, but it would require a super-thin truck crunching over only your lower stomach.
I closed my eyes tight and shuddered, tucking my chin below the cream-colored flannel sheets, maybe trying to forget the pain, maybe trying to fall back asleep again, sinking into my burning-red dream again, as that was what it must have been _ a dream of giving birth? Or was it?
Did I just have yet another abortion? Or did I really give birth and since I am alone in my bed, was the baby whisked away, stolen from me before I could even see him, or was it her, claim the baby as my own?
But I must have given birth, really.
Why else would I be bleeding? Why else was there this throbbing that remembered with a certainty that was physical, like a slap, that someone was there, inside of me, before I awoke, maybe an hour ago, maybe a few minutes ago.
Surely, the baby had been there inside my uterus, which probably was snatched away with the baby, all while I was asleep, leaving me with this emptiness, this groaning pain.
For months, I had known this baby. I had grown accustomed to its presence, and I know it was a big-headed bulgy-eyed fish bobbing inside me, sometimes sucking on its thumb, sometimes chuckling, sometimes even asking what kind of life awaited when it was born.
He was already an individual, confident of his goals, his identity, that conviction he was there growing inside of me for a purpose, that he belonged there.
And so I was not that surprised he had left so soon.
But I missed him. I did not intend to claim him as my baby the way ordinary mothers would, as something dependent and therefore weaker in status.
He had been a guest from the start, proudly using my uterus, and promising to stay and be my child only if he felt like it and I fit his needs.
Even then, we had been so close for 10 months, or rather, because he had been inside me, a part of me. He took the food I ate to use as nutrients to grow from fish or worm to half-man inside my uterus.
So at that point at the umblical cord serving as a pipe so the baby could get nutrition to grow, never mind my uterus had gone missing, we were connected, and that was supposed to be eternal, long after the baby was born.
We were one, together, the same.
If I jumped from a loud sound, a door slamming, the crash of lightning, a harsh yell, he would jump, too, first inside of me before he was born, and now somewhere, wherever he was. If I drank a lot of chamomile tea, the baby would sneeze like I would sneeze. If I had chocolate cake, he would murmur, “Yummmy,” and feel his blood sugar level perk.
That was how close we were, inseparable, one, together and the same.
I knew what kind of look he would have when he jumped, sneezed or said, “Yummy,” even before he was born.
He had those impish eyes, that proud puckered mouth, that mischevous smile.
I own you, Mom. You will serve me forever, and you will learn so much from being my mother, he would be saying through that umblical cord like a playful toy-telephone connection inside my belly that I could easily decipher in my head, the same way dolphins communicate with each other in the ocean, bouncing sonic waves like ripples of aminiotic fluid.
We’ll have great times together, if you play this game right and I decide I like you, he was saying, even though from his tone, I could tell he was joking.
You will take one look at me, when I am born, and our eyes will meet _ my pale gray tiny eyes and yours, amazed and delighted and relieved the birth is finally over _ in a perfect magical moment.
And you will know I am the one, the one who had been with you all these months, he said. You will recognize me, instantly, of course.
And I will own you _ my mother.
I started to resent how the baby was not with me in the bed, as he should have been, when he was born, maybe not this time in my dream, and surely not that other time when the fetus was aborted, but you know that time, that real time, that time when he had been born.
No, it wasn’t resentment at all.
It was a soothing acceptance of knowing how I had given birth, maybe the same birth over and over, no matter how many times the baby went missing, or the baby got aborted, or even when I woke up to see he had been stolen from me in my dreams.
I knew I had given birth again.