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FEBRUARY 10 (TUESDAY), 12 WEEKS + 1 DAY


Twelve weeks-and the morning sickness is as bad as ever. It clings to her like a wet blouse. Which may be why she went to see Dr. Nikaido today. Her nerves and her hormones and her emotions seem all out of whack. As she always does before these visits, she spent a long time deciding what to wear. She lined up all her coats and skirts, her sweaters and her scarves on the bed and studied them carefully. She also spent a lot of time on her makeup. I worry that all this fuss will make my brother-in-law jealous. The morning sickness has made her hips narrower, her cheeks a little sunken, and her jaw more defined; she's even prettier than ever. You'd never guess that she was pregnant.

I met Dr. Nikaido once, when he brought her home during a typhoon. He's a middle-aged man with an unremarkable face, and he made no impression on me at all. In fact, afterward I couldn't recall a single feature- thick earlobes, for example, or strong fingers-nothing. He just stood quietly behind my sister, looking down at the ground. Perhaps because his shoulders and hair were wet from the rain, he seemed terribly sad. I don't really know what kind of therapy he practices, but my sister has mentioned psychological tests and medication of some sort. In any case, she's been going to him since she was in high school, more than ten years now without a break, but I can't see that she's got any better. Her emotional problems seem to come in waves, like seaweed tossed around in the ocean, and she's never found a safe, calm shore to rest on. Still, she told me she feels much better when she's at his office.

"It's like when they're shampooing your hair at the salon," she said. "The feeling that someone's taking care of you-it's wonderful." Her eyes narrowed with pleasure at the thought of him.

But it's hard for me to believe that Dr. Nikaido is a good psychiatrist. As he stood mutely in the doorway on the night of the typhoon, he looked more like a frightened patient than a doctor.

The sun had set and a golden moon had risen in the darkness, but she still hadn't come home. "She shouldn't be out in this cold," my brother-in-law muttered. When a taxi finally stopped at the gate, he hurried out to meet her. Her eyes glistened as she unwound her scarf, and she seemed much calmer than she was this morning. But no matter how often she goes to see Dr. Nikaido, her morning sickness is as bad as ever.



FEBRUARY 6 (FRIDAY), 11 WEEKS + 4 DAYS | The Diving Pool | MARCH 1 (SUNDAY), 14 WEEKS + 6 DAYS







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