Friday, October 07, 2005


I grew fat the last time I was in Bali.

In my early twenties, I'd go there for six weeks and lose twenty pounds. I'd first puff from the heat, but then after a day or two of jukut, vegetables in broth tasting of coconut oil smoke, sambal of hot chili and garlic and shrimp paste, mounds of rice, I'd not feel hungry again.

Once I spent all night at an odalan up in the hills in Kayuputih to celebrate a temple birthday. I watched a woman fall into a trance and roar like she was a tiger. The next morning I was vomiting, my stomach seized in pain. Bapak, Pasek's father, told me it was from a black magic spell cast by villagers in Kayuputih. He had told me that it was dangerous there. Meme boiled cinnamon leaves in water and then made me drink the bitter liquid, which made me vomit even more violently.

But I'd forget about the day of vomiting, and every day I'd wake and pump water into a bucket for bathing, and walk down the mountain path, and swim in the Java Sea, and weeks would pass and I'd be muscle and sinew.

The last time I was in Bali, I had just taken clomiphene to force my ovaries to release their eggs. I was 35 and determined to become fertile. A sonogram at UCSF had revealed ova sticking to the sides of my ovaries and forming cysts instead of traveling down my fallopian tubes. Clomiphene blew up my ovaries to softball size and they felt hot and buzzing. My flesh grew full and soft and thick, so much so that Luh asked me if I were pregnant.

Belum, I answered. Not yet.

If you are not pregnant now, you will be next month, Luh told me.

Luh was right.


Blogger telfair said...

You're a beautiful writer...I'm enjoying the blog.

12:58 AM  

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