Within These Arms Forever Swim
by John Andrew Fredrick
From the get I just seemed to know things about her, things I couldn’t possibly have twigged without having had, one might say, some inexplicable connection with her, to her—whichever preposition or idiom one prefers to employ. For one thing, though she didn’t wear a wedding ring, just a dark purple bauble with a thin gold band on the pink pinky of her right hand, I sort of divined that she had a husband, and that she was a mom, a devoted and loving one, though she didn’t at all look old enough to have had a ten-year-old son. It sounds odd to frame it like this, but neither did she look big enough to have had a child. Though of course size has got absolutely nothing to do with it, motherhood and all of that: doubtlessly, there are innumerable lady-munchkins and wee, waify, petite things the great, wide, wicky-wacky world over giving birth right now, this minute, going into labor and sweating it out in boiling thatched huts or in perfectly temperature-controlled top hospitals, or doing “the home birth thing” in special soft white and blue inflatable bathtubs, with midwives and husbands and boyfriends and doulas dancing anxious attendance upon them.