Je Suis Nombril  (I am bellybutton)

Je Suis Nombril (I am bellybutton)

A Story by Andronicus

Je Suis Nombril

 

It’s a grey August day and I am standing by a soft mound of dirt. Around me are a  handful of friends, dressed in black, and a Pastor. They gently pat my arm and walk away to their cars. The deed has been done. My mother has been buried and the ritual is over. No, I correct myself, not my mother; my mother’s body. As I stand there alone with a cold wind whistling around my collar, I recall a phrase that has not passed my mind in many years. “Je suis nombril.”


I had been teaching sixth grade when I first met Jean Marc. A fine young French boy; his father had emigrated back to Australia after his Parisian wife tragically passed away from pancreatic cancer. Being fairly confident in speaking French myself, I had the pleasure of welcoming Jean Marc into my class.


I have always been able to clearly remember his first day. When asked to introduce himself to the class Jean Marc stood up and proudly proclaimed, “Je suis Nombril.” I chuckled to myself, thinking it a joke, but when I asked him to speak in English he simply said, “I am Nombril.” Not wanting to argue with the child on his first day, I let the matter pass and "Nombril” stuck. As far as I recall he was called Nombril for at least the duration of his being in my class.


Now standing in a deserted cemetery a scene unfolds in my mind.


My curiosity had gotten the better of me one day, and I pulled Nombril aside. “Nombril,” I asked, “Why do you call yourself Nombril? You know it means bellybutton don’t you?”


Nombril stood up straight and his dark eyes became instantly sober. "It is for my mother." He paused for some time choosing his English words carefully. “I am attached to my mother,” he said gesturing to his navel. “I am cut off from my mother.”


I had wanted to ask more questions but I knew I was treading on sacred ground, therefore I smiled and dismissed the boy with no further comment.


It’s only now some fifteen years later as I stand by my mother’s grave, deep in contemplative thought, that I finally start to understand the meaning of these words. “Je Suis Nombril.”

 

****


© 2016 Andronicus



Author's Note

Andronicus
Appreciate ANY comments

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register




Reviews

Kind and somewhat nostalgic this story , this time. Gave me a chilly feeling , something like being hugged by the cemetery in a warm , invisible embrace.

Posted 10 Months Ago


Andronicus

10 Months Ago

Warm yet chilly? Sounds like you had a full mix of emotions huh? Thanks for reviewing :)
Ella R.

10 Months Ago

Well, when I'm not dead I feel things. There are certain things that bring me back from death.
Very clever story with a nice full-circle ending. Nombril is a very strong thinker, it seems. Touching story.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

10 Months Ago

Clifford! So sorry I must have missed thanking you for this review. I really appreciate your kind wo.. read more
Bitterly sweet piece of a story. And even though he lives in but a few paragraphs here, Nombril is such a complex and strong character. Wonderful.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thank you Chris. I'm glad you liked it.
A beautiful tale, beautifully told. We are all bellybutton, are we not? What a wonderful idea and explanation :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thanks for your review Nemo. I'm glad you like my story. :)
Lorry.

1 Year Ago

You're welcome :)
I won't lie--the title definitely caught my attention. I was like, "What the hell? Bellybutton?" It kept me reading. I have an attraction to dark writing, so right off the bat, a funeral kept me in.

Full circle. You brought the piece back full circle. I like that. Even in a short piece, there was notable character development. He understood the meaning of the phrase. A seemingly-meaningless event that had occurred 15 years prior came to mind. A child having recently lost his mother had called himself that because of his once literal connection through birth, the physical connection through her presence and emotional connection, and then the total disconnect after her complete departure from the moral plain. No longer was that physical or metaphysical umbilical cord there. It was gone completely.

And the writer the understood himself, having lost his mother.

Only thing, being a bit of a stickler for grammar: watch your commas, and full sentences typically come after semi-colons. I'm known for not doing so for stylistic purposes, so I apologize if that was the point. I'll correct my scoring if that was indeed the case.

I also suck a proof-reading my own work. I will freely admit that, so pardon any grammar goofs in the review.

Overall, great piece. Interesting concept. I haven't seen anything like it. Being a nerd for foreign languages, I love the use of another language. I am familiar with Russian, Japanese, Spanish, and a beginner in Irish Gaelic. Go figure that I don't touch more than one language easier for native speakers for understand. *shrug*

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thanks for your review Elendarin. To be perfectly honest with you I actually thought of the title be.. read more
Elendarin

1 Year Ago

Ah, sorry it took me so look to get back to you, Andronicus. Coursework is kicking my a*s up and dow.. read more
This is wonderful. The story's title brought up enough curiosity to make me want to read, and yet the title couldn't have been anything else, so it isn't clickbait. There a few places where I wish things were worded differently, but the concept is more than comparable to anything I've gotten from reading George Saunders or anyone of that caliber. Thank you for this!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thank you John. :) No, the title isn't clickbait. I hope none of my titles are "clickbait". I aim to.. read more
John King

1 Year Ago

You know, I'm reading through it (Bellybutton) again and I don't really know what I was trying to po.. read more
Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Lol, okay, fair enough. But if you think of anything.. just lmk!
I'm glad you're glad you re.. read more
Hmmm......what to say....

I was wondering where you were taking the reader with this story and i found out soon enough. This is a very sweet and profound piece of writing. Well executed, and flowing to an unexpected, yet illuminating ending.
Well Done on your idea of being connected to a departed Mother with the use of "Nombril", a very clever and original choice.

Another fine short story; well written and captivating the reader throughout.

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Dearest Doodley. Thank you so very much for your thoughtful and generous review. Unexpected endings .. read more
Doodley

1 Year Ago

No problem. Deserved praise.
this is a fantastic story! unfortunately i can't comment more because i'm too jealous that i didn't write this myself. much praise!!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thank you so much for your praise! I appreciate you taking the time to read and review my story. :)
This is really sweet :) I'll never think of my bellybutton the same lol. A very touching read. Great job!

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Merci Dante. :) Thank you for reading and reviewing my story. Glad you liked it! :)
This is simply beautiful. This bond. And the way you've depicted it. Thank you for this amazing story! :)

Posted 1 Year Ago


Andronicus

1 Year Ago

Thank you Vernika! I'm happy that you liked my story and the special bond it depicts. :) Thank you!!.. read more
Vernika

1 Year Ago

You're very welcome! :)

First Page first
Previous Page prev
1
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

980 Views
19 Reviews
Rating
Shelved in 2 Libraries
Added on March 9, 2016
Last Updated on July 26, 2016

Author

Andronicus
Andronicus

About
“If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at ev.. more..

Writing
Twisted Twisted

A Story by Andronicus