Potbelly Bump (novelette continues)

There is no such thing as a homemaker who is only that. A mother to three young ladies in their teens, Rhaya knew better than to conceive such bland thoughts about motherhood, even if the now older millennials insisted on asking what she did for a living, if she had a LinkedIn profile, or what her professional title was. Sometimes, on a flight to see her sister Amanda who lived south, she came across silly questions from fellow passengers chit-chat. ¿So what do you do for a living? ¿What are you? I’m a…

Questions like these never fit. They presupposed she should be doing something very specific to generate a solid product. And, she was, but those riches would come later, in the long term. Sometimes, women are meant for that, for the long run, for the future. We place high importance on those missions in my realm, but people on earth seldom remember that nowadays.

Making a home is an interesting concept, too broad to define simply as a place where families touch base, as they go through their daily grinds. Home is a force in itself, it has the power to make people stay put for others’ sake, but it will also push them outside of their heads. And from there, it may go even further. Home will extend its branches into the future as it anchors to the past. It grows forth lush as a fern or as bad weed, whether folks want it to or not.

Very well versed in the whims of dreams, most of Rhaya’s never did solidify. Some had been silly, of course, that’s a given with almost everyone. Others hadn’t been her authorship, just a fact she came to terms with a tad late. Then again, having a smooth and reasonable line from A to B, from childhood into adulthood in an orderly sequence, with no delusional whims in between, may be desirable, but it seldom happens.

Home had her coming and going, expanding and contracting. Sometimes she went forward with a sure step and then doubted at the next bend. At least she didn’t stay stuck in a single doubt for years, decades. I’ve known many who have. Uncertainty stalled her at times, but growing pains and other people’s needs nudged her on like a stubborn sheepdog. That’s how she managed to rid her space of its old inhabitants from her preteen years, when her figure suddenly became a target.

At thirteen, as her body started to change, she suddenly became aware of a flaw. This awareness came about as, let us say, a kind of voice. ¿What’s odd about that you may ask? Well, yes, so many people talk to themselves inside their heads. So there’s nothing new there. The problem was the voice spoke when it wanted, and mostly about her body. It seemed focused on that one thing.

 “Must be loud thoughts” Rhaya concluded, leaving it at that.

One thing I will mention here. Rhaya was never fearful of thoughts, and even though nobody had ever mentioned this peculiar phenomenon to her, she didn’t question it. A thought is a thought ¿right?

“People don’t go around saying they get information from loud thoughts,” she said to herself one day, in her head. And the idea slid by, floating aimlessly, as all others did.

Later on, she would also have to admit to another curious detail. Having been unaware of already knowing certain things, bits and pieces of information. Like the word Potbelly, which she soon fixated on. Rhaya vaguely assumed she must have heard it before, without paying much heed. If not that, ¿how else would she come up with the term potbelly out of the blue, one fine morning, at the brink of of her thirteenth birthday?

As she stood sideways, in front of the vertical mirror of her dressing table, pleasantly satisfied, the girl felt cute, satisfied her favorite jeans fit exactly as they should, at the belly button. A cotton blouse hung loosely, draping soft over her torso. She appreciated her gentle curves, the sufficient breasts, significant hips. Then she noticed. Protruding from the navel, a slight bump like a small bun made itself evident.

“We get rid of potbelly,” said a loud thought, without much diplomacy, in a somewhat bitter tone.

“¿Potbelly? Oh! I see”, she acquiesced whispering to herself, observing her abdomen with new, clinical eyes. Rhaya knew what the voice was referring to, she had noticed this little protuberance before, it just never before registered as a “thing”, an add-on that should not be.

Having never juggled the word potbelly before, she nonetheless recognized Grandma had one. She could tell from her colorful dress pants. Mom did too, she had seen her in bikini many times. When she sat, the slight rounded bun rested horizontally.

A very familiar thing and yet, starting that very day, the potbelly became an unwanted guest, a separate entity that should not be there. The loud thought had stated so squarely. It had to go.