twenty-seven days (or more)

When autumn (finally) arrives, I will let out a fierce sigh of relief.  
Though, of course, I will be sad too.
Once fall is here, it means that I have completely missed summer.

In Uganda, they have a saying—a response to just about anything:
There is no what to do.

I’ve spent the summer hot and pregnant, a little bit sick, always curled up close to the AC unit in our living room. Don’t think me a bad mother (a bad woman?), but this is my truth: I am so excited to meet my daughter, but I have hated being pregnant—every week, day, and month of it.

This morning, with three-and-a-half weeks ‘til my due date, the unbearable heat of this particular summer lifted (if only for a moment), and I stepped outside into the cool, sweet damp of a crisp morning in late August.

I felt like an entirely different person. Renewed. Hopeful.

Abandoning my daily perch by the AC unit (finally), I drove to the café, first thing, before the cool evaporated in the clear heat of bright sunshine.

Eight months ago, I could not handle the smells of that kitchen. Remember when you made me hate the smell of bacon and eggs? I silently say to the tiny girl in my belly. I talk to her often these days, though rarely out loud.

She and I sit at a corner table. I sip at a warm mug of jasmine tea and open a book. Content.

I am reading a collection of short stories by Amy Hempel. I heard her give a reading my first evening at Bennington, and her narrative voice blew me away. Now I am reading her entire collection, four small volumes bound into one. I rest the paperback spine on my thirty-six week bump and remove the tea leaves from my mug, settling the tea bag on a saucer.

The book rises and falls as baby wiggles and turns, tapping at the weight resting on her space.
Jab, jab, kick.

Three-and-a-half more weeks (though maybe six if she is late).
Twenty-seven days (or more).
Who knows? There is no what to do.

I wonder if I will miss feeling her move inside me. Miss knowing to expect swift kicks every time I drink a glass of ice water or eat a bowl of watermelon.

I pat my growing bump, relishing the cool of the early morning, the social clatter in the café’s kitchen, the taste of jasmine in my mouth.

Come as soon as you like, baby girl, I think. Come soon.


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