Monday, 30 January 2023

Diary of a Void

'Diary of a Void' by Emi Yagi. One of Monkey's lecturers talked about this book and she decided to buy it for me for Christmas. It is the story of Shibata who, frustrated by the way her male colleagues treat her, one day randomly announces she is pregnant and thus cannot clean up the coffee cups as the smell makes her sick. She is not pregnant, but she makes a pretty good job of being, and the experience improves her life considerably; she can go home early and is excused the various jobs that were previously left to her. The simplest thing to do would be to have a pretend miscarriage, but no, she enjoys going home early and having time to cook nice dinners and take care of herself, so she just keeps up the pretence. So you spend much of the book wondering how she gets away with it, and how the situation will pan out when the baby is supposed to arrive. She starts walking because she is worried about putting on weight, then joins a pregnant lady exercise group ... and even goes to the doctor in the end. She appears quite lonely and enjoys the friendship of the other pregnant women, so enjoys sharing the experience with them that it seems to become real for her. I was not sure what to make of it but I enjoyed the book and believed with her that she was pregnant. It was well and truly surreal. I give you this quote from her first experience of the exercise class:

"Utterly dominated by the thudding music, everybody was dancing madly, but the one who was dancing the maddest was the woman in the neon-blue shirt. While everybody else looked sapped, barely managing to keep up with the instructor, she let out a roar like an animal, her breasts shaking like a pair of fruits as she sensually thrust out her belly over and over. It was like she was dancing at some harvest festival. The more she moved, the faster the beat seemed to get.
The heat of the room entered my lungs, and just when I thought my arms and legs were about to fall off, the fierce beat came to a stop and gave way to the mellow sounds of harp arpeggios. Our steps got slower and slower; the mirror ball stopped spinning. The next thing I knew, all these women with round bellies were on their backs and bathing in a soft green light as if we were suddenly in some kind of forest. Deep breaths, everybody. In and out, in and out.

Have a great evening! Get home safe! The kanpyo lady called out as we exited the gym. Up ahead, walking towards the subway, I noticed the woman in the neon-blue shirt. With every step she took, her thick braids swung from side to side.
It was getting dark. The Sunday evening air was crisp and cool. But when I closed my eyes, my eyelids felt hot. There was something warm moving inside me.
As I waited for the light to change, I pulled out my phone and opened Baby-N-Me. I plugged in today's exercise: MOMMY AEROBICS, 50 MIN." (p.109-111)

Stay safe. Be kind. That's enough baby stuff for the time being.

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