The globe of her belly swelled. When the ninth full moon came, she felt as if she, herself, had swallowed Luna. Full moon. Full belly. She had always been proud of her flat, tanned stomach. She bared it on beaches, flaunting the taut, youthful skin. She’d stop to chat with the muchachos. She’d yawn and stretch like a cat in the sunshine and the local boys shivered with longing when they caught a glance of bare belly peeking out as her shirt shimmied upwards.
If you were to dissect it, she imagined you’d find a panoramic cross section of the universe. Milky way, star clusters, comets and planets dancing. She wondered which would align on the night her baby would choose to enter and merge with this world. She whispered to her belly as if it were an oracle. She revered the life within it, knowing it contained more than she could yet remember. She brushed her long, thick, black hair. She rubbed coconut oil on the stretched out skin, on her belly, thighs and hips while Jose massaged the soles of her feet. He chittered nervously about names, about how beautiful this little one would be. “Are you ok?” he would ask her constantly, adjusting the pillows behind her back, pressing a wet wash cloth against her skin. While she was pregnant, he was beside himself with passionate allegiance for her. He folded before her like a servant, reverent and awestruck. He fretted and fussed over her like a pesky housewife. She shooed him away compassionately, sending him on errands for the softest linens to lie on, for the sweetest mangoes to slice. He was a knight, slaying dragons, fighting battles, completing conquests for his queen.
She inhabited a sense of self, a rootedness that she had never known. She was entrusted with the well-being of this shrouded little creature and yet she knew that it was to be handed directly from the Divine to her arms. Her only ability was to shower it with love and trust in its purpose of unfolding divinity upon this world.
Isabella’s sister flocked around her, like a chorus of songbirds. She was the youngest and yet the first to be pregnant. She was barely twenty two and suddenly seemed such a powerful woman, a sorceress.
Late at night she slipped away to be alone by the ocean, just her and the world inside her. She slipped out from under the thin, cotton sheets of her bed and down to the shore. She let the waves lap at her toes. She sat farther back on the sand and lay looking at the stars. “Where are you from, Lunita? Which star is your home?” she would ask. Sometimes she would dance a dance that looked more like a magical ceremony, the movements flowing through her to the music of the tides.
“When you are born, little ones, I will rock you like the tides rock the ships. And what moves the tides? Mama Moon of course. You, Luna, you are the mover and the moved, one in the same. You are the fish who dives beneath the storms on the surface of the sea. You will be my Pisces, shape shifting goddess.” I will teach you and you will teach me.