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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2020 Susan Woerner

Scene 45

As she got better, my sister constantly reminded me of how much she loved me and the girls. I would stretch out beside her in our bed, resting my head against her shoulder and stroking her belly skin, which had begun to swell over the growing twins. She started showing her pregnancy only seven days after she had laid with the evil one, the demon of desire - as I called Rati; hate filling me. But how could I show this hate when here before me was my beautiful sister and marveling at the miracle that was within her. She rarely spoke of the goddess queen and neither did I lest my hatred rupture the beatitude of those days.

She would speak with the twins as if they could understand every word. At these times, she would not let me into the intimate circle with her and the girls. Instead she would send me out to caretake our garden or to bring in fresh water. If I were away more than an hour, I would become restless, believing I could hear her call for me and would rush back to see what she needed. But she had not called for me - most times she was sleeping or sitting up in bed, quietly sewing small garments. She would scold me then for letting my fears overtake me. ‘See how I am?’ she would say to me, ‘I am not afraid. I am blessed with babies,’ and she would take my hand and guide it to the side of her womb where one or the other of the twins would kick and I would cry.

Since the time of the event, we both changed - I cared little for my appearance - surely looking as wild as the forest life around us and she was the opposite - all her movements slowed by her growing body. Mahi-A’s belly and breasts had swollen so much that she tied a blanket around herself and, still, she was less bumbling than I felt - an animal too big, too ungainly to be inside a house.  She never seemed concerned about the coming winter when in all likelihood, the girls would be born and we would need to feed four instead of just two. In a state of rapture she had entered long ago, her bliss clung to her like lichen on stone and sometimes it had the power to calm me as well. But I could not carry this peace with me outside though we could not afford for me to be this way – to not want to wander from her side – for the sun was now dropping lower in the sky and I had to harvest to keep us from starving in the months ahead. The nights were hinting at the cold to come - The Mother’s sign to gather in. Stags rutted, I could hear their deep songs in the early morning. Song birds had flown to warmer places. Goats made their way out of the higher mountain passes, no doubt having already felt the first snow on their backs.


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