APRIL 16 (THURSDAY), 21 WEEKS + 3 DAYS
My sister put on a maternity dress for the first time today. Her belly suddenly seemed larger, but when she let me touch it, I could tell that it hadn't changed. I found it difficult to believe that there was a living being there under my hand. She seemed to be having a hard time getting used to the dress and kept fiddling with the ribbon around her waist.
But her morning sickness has vanished, ending just as abruptly as it began. Since the nausea started, she'd avoided the kitchen completely, so I was puzzled when I found her leaning against the counter this morning, after saying good-bye to her husband.
Because we haven't been cooking, the kitchen was spotless. Every utensil had been put away, the counter was clean and dry, and the dishwasher was empty. It seemed cold and forbidding, like a showroom. She looked around for a moment and then sat down at the table. Normally, it would have been cluttered with bottles and containers we'd forgotten to put away, but today there was nothing on it. She looked up at me as if she had something to say. The hem of her dress swirled around her ankles.
"Would you like a croissant?" I said, trying to be as discreet as possible.
"Please don't even say that horrible word," she said. I nodded obediently. "But I would like to try something else," she continued, almost whispering.
"Sure," I said. I hurried to the refrigerator, realizing that this was the first time in weeks that she'd expressed any interest in food. But there was absolutely nothing there, just a bare lightbulb illuminating the emptiness. I closed the door with a sigh and went to look in the pantry, but there was nothing there, either.
"Don't you have anything?" she said, sounding worried.
"Let's see," I said, sorting through the bags and cans and jars. "There's a little gelatin, half a sack of flour, some dried mushrooms, red food coloring, yeast, vanilla extract…" I came across two leftover croissants, but I quickly put them back.
"But I want to eat something," she said, as if making a momentous decision.
"Hold on. There must be something around here." I checked the pantry again, shelf by shelf. At the very bottom, I found some raisins we'd once bought for a cake. The date on the box said that they were more than two years old, and they were as dried out as a mummy's eyeballs. "How about these?" I asked, pushing the bag toward her. She nodded.
It was strange to watch her eat something so hard with such a satisfied expression. Her jaw worked quickly as she took handful after handful from the bag. Her whole mind and body seemed to be concentrated on eating. When she came to the last few raisins, she let them rest on her palm for a moment, studying them lovingly before slowly putting them in her mouth. That was when I understood that her morning sickness was truly gone.