A Writing Exercise

If you read Janet Fitch's Blog, you'll notice she participates in a weekly writing exercise involving a short short story based on a single word.  Thought I'd borrow the idea this week, using my own word.  

The rules (as seen on her blog): Inspired by a simple word, chosen at random, write a two-page double-spaced story, using the word at least once.

Please leave a link to your story if you choose to participate!

The word: Weightless

She felt weightless in the water.

It was quite a contrast from the rest of her life: the slow, plodding existence that came with the growth of a child inside the body.  Sometimes she felt as if she were carrying the entire world in her stomach, a large, round weight continually expanding until she thought she might burst.  

In her front yard, there was a tree with a knot of wood growing like a tumor from its side.  She felt akin to this tree, once young and tall and sprightly; now deformed.  It looked awkward; unnatural.

Her midwife told her that pregnancy was the magnum opus of the female body.  A natural miracle, she’d said.  It sounded like an oxymoron.  How could a miracle be natural?  She looked at the children in the streets and tried to imagine them as her own, picturing their little faces inside her body, waiting to come out and love her.   She felt nothing for them.  She could not make the connection.

But in the water, it was as if nothing had changed.  She was thin again; flat, and hopeful.  She could control her own future, floating here like a colorful buoy in the sunlight.  

“I am weightless,” she would whisper.  “Free.”

She scheduled her days around the promise of the public pool, snugly situated between the park and the library.  At first she’d hated it, coming to the pool where all the other people congregated like seagulls to the coast.  The cold, damp walls echoed like a tomb, and the air was heavy with the scent of chlorine.  

She wore her blue maternity swimsuit, and felt like a whale with flip flops and a plastic bag slung over her shoulder.  She would picture herself as the other people must have seen her, walking towards the shallow end.  It was humiliating.  Here I come, she thought, duck-like.  It became increasingly difficult to crouch down to the edge of the pool and slowly, deftly let herself into the water.  

She wondered if it might be easier to roll across the tiled floors, straight into the pool.

Straight into a new body.

Odd how her hormones made her feel like two different people.  Like a beached whale and then, later, a mermaid.  

She told her mother on the phone, “I just want to be seen for me.  Not this bump on my belly.”

And her mother replied, “When you have that baby, you’ll feel differently.  You’ll see.”

Would she?  How did life change, after a baby?  She floated onto her back in the water, propelling herself along with a firm, backhand motion.  One arm after the next.  

“I am weightless,” she said, again. 

And then the baby kicked inside her belly and she knew she was swimming for two.

P.S. This story is purely fictional and the author is not pregnant.  So don't ask.


  1. hahaha love the P.S.

  2. I love your writing, really. :) And loved the PS, haha! Isn't it so funny how quickly people speculate?


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