“Which part of Tokyo is she from?” asked the sunburnt one in a red polyester aloha shirt that stretched up and over his pregnant stomach. In Josh’s answer I could hear the embarrassment on his face, while I silently stared at the blood-red cranberry sauce on my plate.

I followed him to the door. “Thank you for coming,” the couple said, as we put on our slippers. “Me too,” I replied, wrongly. Josh laughed–a mocking cackle that felt like jabs to my stomach.

I touched it, later, my stomach. Motionless inside tonight. Nothing. Kick, I thought. Kick. Please.

Talk story

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