Watermelon Bellies

Brianna Randall essays

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Sometimes, I think about what it would be like to swim until I can't go any further. To hold my breath underwater until I get past the fear that I'll run out of air. I think about running as fast as I can without worrying about pitfalls and holes. About closing my eyes and not stopping myself from flying out of my skin, up and away…and about trusting myself to come back.

I think sometimes about total freedom. About non-attachment. About lightness and fullness, and the space between. I think about the difference between fight and flight and fright, and wonder whether I have the ovaries to simply stand still. 

Last night, I dreamt of a belly as hard as a watermelon. Of putting my hand to its taut roundness, and pushing in to make sure it wouldn't pop like an empty balloon. I dreamt of making sure the belly was full of life and love and a beating heart. The dream was of my friend. Her belly was the center of the dream, and everything else a silhouette in the distance: we were at a coffee shop, ordering fancy espresso drinks and warm muffins somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

I'm on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 10,000 miles from this friend. I knew she was ready to have a baby, though she wasn't pregnant yet on the night of my dream. I ate watermelon for breakfast the next morning, stroking its smooth, hard rind absently as I thought about what that vivid dream meant to me. 

A watermelon belly means holding my breath, swimming the distance, running through potholes, and flying out of my skin. It means forsaking total freedom and non-attachment in favor of a fullness I have yet to experience. It means fight and fright, alongside fantastic flights beyond my wildest imagination. 

I don't have any pregnant bellies to stroke here in the South Pacific right now. Luckily, there's a lot of watermelons around to satisfy my budding urge.

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About the Author

Brianna Randall

Brianna Randall lives in Missoula, Montana where she toggles not-so-deftly between chasing her young son, running her own business, and fantasizing about sailing off to a deserted island (again). Her work has appeared in Scary Mommy, Outside, Backpacker, and several travel magazines.

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