Iowa Writes

GUESLY MICHEL
Reminiscing


Remind yourself of a period that you doubtlessly have forgotten. You are in the belly of your mother: One, two, three, four months. Bathed in a soft liquid, which brought comfort, emotional heat, affection, food, pleasure, Oh! Yes! There, food reaches me by itself. I am never thirsty, I am never hungry. All my needs are filled. I feel safe. I am feeling good! And so, it is impossible to remain still. Turning any which way, moving my hands and my feet, I hear from a great distance: Aiy! He is kicking me with his little foot! And I feel me, a pleasant, monotonous, soft movement as if caressing me. As soon as I move I hear that same voice: Wouy! Again, He is pushing me with that little foot of his! Must be a baby boy! These same sounds always reach me. The same movement always follows.

Five, six months, I move much more, more intensely, more quickly. I hear many more sounds: Mmh! Mhm! Mhm! What is with him that he is so squirmy?? I have the same sensation of perfect well-being, the same pleasure. It is pleasant and beautiful!

Seven, eight months, the movements became a habit. I perceive sounds more clearly; I have the impression I am being spoken about: He is almost born! Then I can't wait to see whom he will look like! I listen but I don't understand. What am I expected to do? In the environment where I am living, my environment, one does not need to make an effort. No need to try to make anything. Everything just is! What can there be that is more interesting, more beautiful than my present life? Nothing. Nothing else can have it. I am certain about that! I am arranging myself to live here eternally.

Remind yourself of a period that you doubtlessly have forgotten. You are in the belly of your mother: One, two, three, four months. Bathed in a soft liquid, which brought comfort, emotional heat, affection, food, pleasure, Oh! Yes! There, food reaches me by itself. I am never thirsty, I am never hungry. All my needs are filled. I feel safe. I am feeling good! And so, it is impossible to remain still. Turning any which way, moving my hands and my feet, I hear from a great distance: Aiy! He is kicking me with his little foot! And I feel me, a pleasant, monotonous, soft movement as if caressing me. As soon as I move I hear that same voice: Wouy! Again, He is pushing me with that little foot of his! Must be a baby boy! These same sounds always reach me. The same movement always follows.

Five, six months, I move much more, more intensely, more quickly. I hear many more sounds: Mmh! Mhm! Mhm! What is with him that he is so squirmy?? I have the same sensation of perfect well-being, the same pleasure. It is pleasant and beautiful!

Seven, eight months, the movements became a habit. I perceive sounds more clearly; I have the impression I am being spoken about: He is almost born! Then I can't wait to see whom he will look like! I listen but I don't understand. What am I expected to do? In the environment where I am living, my environment, one does not need to make an effort. No need to try to make anything. Everything just is! What can there be that is more interesting, more beautiful than my present life? Nothing. Nothing else can have it. I am certain about that! I am arranging myself to live here eternally.

Nine months is up, and Whoa! I am being pushed forward but have no idea I am going. I resist. Resistance is impossible. Suddenly, just like that, I feel weak, small in the place where I had been master! Wif! Paf! Miuf! Plouf! Plop! I am somewhere. Bothered, strange, weird, I am welcomed by a violent blow on my butt. Aiy! It is not over. I see some funny forms. Faces. Toc, toc, toc, toc, a funny sensation. My heart. Something strange is happening at the center of my face. I inhale. Phew! Everything is different, everything is strange! I just want to go back home. To my paradise.

Woy! I am not feeling so good ! I hear more sounds: Look at him! He is beautiful! Look at his little hands! His little mouth! I love him! The same funny and bizarre forms. My only reassurance, there is this thing in my mouth gushing a soft liquid. The breasts of my mother. This one makes my situation more pleasant. Phew!

That is my story, and it is different from yours. Still, they resemble each other. Indeed, what is important to note is the difference between the two cycles of a person's life: the life before and the life after birth. A child – no! –  A baby. Everything was planned so that we, we human beings, are happy; we exist in a state of absolute well-being. That is how everything was at the beginning. Unfortunately, we are obliged to leave this to exist in other spaces where we can't make heads or tails. In the belly, we received everything, without asking. Everything is complete; it's paradise! Whereas outside, we give ourselves up to everything, yet nothing is full. It is hell! So why this difference? Why do humans refuse to make it so that my life of paradise continues even outside the belly of my mother? Why? Can you tell me?

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About Iowa Writes

Since 2006, Iowa Writes has featured the work of Iowa-identified writers (whether they have Iowa roots or live here now) and work published by Iowa journals and publishers on The Daily Palette. Iowa Writes features poetry, fiction, or nonfiction twice a week on the Palette.

In November of 2008, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) designated Iowa City, Iowa, the world's third City of Literature, making the community part of the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

Iowa City has joined Edinburgh, Scotland and Melbourne, Australia as UNESCO Cities of Literature.

Find out more about submitting by contacting iowa-writes@uiowa.edu


GUESLY MICHEL

Guesly Michel is a Haitian social worker and psychologist who traveled to Iowa City this summer under a special grant with the International Writers Program to learn ways to use writing in therapy groups for those recovering from trauma in Haiti.  He has worked with victims in a refugee camp after the earthquake in Port au Prince and is also a theatre actor.

This page was first displayed
on January 10, 2011

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