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I’ve Started to Think photo

Between the solitude of the womb and the solitude of the tomb I will have hung out with lots of people, wrote the suicidal Frenchman in his second-to-last book, the last one being dedicated to his suicide.

Just below my left boob is a bump. Not a bump, a lump. Not the scary kind but the kind that makes me feel like an old crusty dog. A lipoma is a fatty tumor located just below the skin. It’s actually on my rib. My sebaceous little Eve.

Chatter on both sides of my ears distracts me. I can't understand anything anyone is saying. Loud noises bother me. Crunching on chips. What did they do five hundred years ago when they didn’t have chips? They ate grapes. Quietly.

If I could write a scene it would indicate the passage of time. I would get sick, then something would happen, and I would get better. There would be some lesson involved, and I would learn that all along, all I had to do was eat more porridge.

I once saw a young girl, less than six, running away from her mother. Finally, she stopped, turned around, and shouted, “I’m You!”

When I was very young, less than six, I sat on a charter bus with my mother. We were parked with other buses, waiting to depart. I don’t know where we were going. On a bus beside us, I saw a woman who looked exactly like my mother. She waved to me, a stranger or just my mother’s reflection.

Shame invades my memory when I least expect it. The things I did in my youth still haunt me, as do the things I did yesterday. On remembering a great humiliation, my mother said: that was when I wanted the ground, under my feet, to crack and swallow me immediately.

My greatest fear is to be watched through a window, and not know that someone is on the other side, watching.

From my window I spy on a swarm of bees, pollinating a jade tree. Somewhere they hoard eighty pounds of honey.

My uncle died because a doctor gave him bad blood. The doctor might still be alive.

Another one of my uncles was eaten by a hippo. I don’t know what happened to the hippo.

All of my ailments are more curable than I thought. My specific anxieties are placeholders for something more general. When I remember sadness I feel a vague creeping, something atmospheric, like clogged ears on an airplane, or the sound of an electric toothbrush buzzing inside my head, the sensation of one hand resting on top of the other, the ribbed imprint of thick socks.

O! Beautiful, beautiful. Magnificent desolation. I know he loved me because he put my whole foot in his mouth.


image: Édouard Levé