Inside Out – Published In Lifespan Vol. 1: Birth – January 2021
The early months were pure bliss. Swimming like a lone angel fish in an aquarium, I grew to the size my pool could accommodate. But unlike that sea creature fed only once a day just a few dried flakes of recomposed detritus, I feasted on an all-day buffet of predigested fresh seafood, beef, vegetables and pasta. Only once I was fed broccoli, which gave me terrible gas. I was glad when that was eliminated from my diet.
An enchanted life in the water world afforded me plenty of time for water ballet, practicing my crawl, flutter kicks, backstrokes and flips. When fatigued, I curled into a tight ball, and with thumb in mouth I slept, comforted by the lull of a soft swishing sound.
But nearly nine months in this water playground, my pool seemed to be shrinking, unable to accommodate my size and activities. I struggled to find comfort kicking, lashing out against the walls that pushed back with greater force.
“Ouch! Get me out of here.” I complained in vain but never ceased the fight.
And then one day, with a whoosh and a swoosh the pool emptied. The walls began closing in. I panicked. My heart was pounding and my head aching, when a door opened and I was pushed, stuffed into a tunnel. Every few minutes the tunnel walls compressed tighter, stretching me, squeezing me flat. My shouts for help, were met with respites that grew shorter and shorter before beginning again.
Pressed, pulled, sucked through the tunnel, I knew I had reached the end when my head knocked against a tightly shut door.
I pounded on the door, but no one answered. My nose was now plastered against my face. My ears flapped over. My tiny body was no longer able to hold onto its digested sustenance. I pooped.
The pushing, the squeezing, I thought I was doomed. That’s when I saw the light, felt the hope. Yes, I’d cracked open the door. I heard voices cheering me on, calling for me to push and did as instructed, but the horrible rumblings, moans, and screams that followed frightened me. No one seemed to care.
They continued shouting, “Now, push, push. Come on, you can do it.”
And I did. I did, I did it. With one last hearty push, my head popped out of the tunnel and the rest of me followed, slipping into the gloved hands of man dressed in greens from head to toe.
I cried. It was so damn cold out there, the blazing lights burned my eyes, and I was the only naked body in the room. I wanted to go back, but the hands held tight as I squirmed like a fish out of water.
The light must have bothered his eyes too because his tears mingled with mine when he kissed the top of my head. He called me his little angel and sputtered out, “I’m your dad.” Then he passed me into the outstretched arms of a smiling sweat faced woman, and he introduced her as Mom, but he didn’t have to tell me. I already knew.