They say that water retains the memories. Ah, so what do mine remember?
They remember a belly large like a whale’s and a dark line that ran down from rib to pubic bones. They remember the sensation of a babe shifting inside. They remember as the waters inside discovered the waters outside, and how they reached for each other in recognition, my little one turning somersaults in delight.
They remember the fear I felt when I stepped into the tub one evening, large and awkward. They caught me and supported me as I sank down into their welcoming warmth. It had been two days since I’d felt her move. No kicks, no elbows, radio silence. Down and down I sank, until my ears were beneath the surface and I could hear the drops falling into the tub and the pulsing of my blood. My hands rose up out of the waters to stroke the island that was my belly. I knew she loved the water, and so I sent out my prayer. ‘Give me a sign. Please, just a little sign.’
And then, there it was: a turning, a shifting. Some body part of her, sharp and bony rose up from the depths and rubbed up against the palm of my hand. ‘Again!’ I cried out to my little dolphin. ‘Again!’ She had come awake, and I could see the rippling of my skin as she brushed up against one palm and then the other in greeting.
That water has long ago drained from the tub. But my little dolphin still loves the water. She is at her happiest when she was near it, in it. As a child, she would race snails in that tub. And as she grows into the woman she is becoming, I hope she remembers those snails. I hope she remembers that she once tattooed my arm in blue ink. I hope she remembers she once wore red rubber boots for months on end because she loved them so. I hope she remembers she once painted her father’s toe nails and that he let her. Yes, I hope that as she grows up she will remember. And if not… well, the water remembers.
They say that water retains the memories. That was 20 years ago. And though that water is long gone, on occasion when I take my bath I run my hand along my belly, and the water helps me remember.