BODIES IN MOTION

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YOU ARE FLOATING IN YOUR OWN BODY

INTRODUCTION

 

I would like you to consider what it is to feel your own blood flowing. I would like you to consider a house for moving, for floating, for breathing, for weathering, for living.

PROLOGUE

 

Soon there will be no more bodies. Soon there will only be mine, and that of the child I am carrying. Soon there will be much more space, too much of it. The flood is coming, soon.

 

We are each equipped with our Long-Term Emergency Dwellings. As we do not know when the flood will strike, and past experiments have shown that closed-system small group living inevitably results in cannibalism, we have been instructed to deploy our Dwellings by ourselves, for ourselves. But I cannot divorce myself from my child, not now, and not in the future. The Dwellings are designed for one person, self-sufficient, small, strong, able to weather the storms. They must persist through periods of incredible violence and incredible stillness. But mine must, soon, support two bodies — for how many years no one can say. Can you design me a new one? I am worried about raising my child in a vacuum.

 

How will she learn to move, if we are confined to a space with no other living beings to engage her mirror neurons? How will she experience her own body, if there are no others for her to hear, see, touch, smell? I want to give my child a habitat that both swaddles her and helps her grow. How will my child feel nourished, if food is so hard to obtain? Will there be enough food for both of us? The upper strata of the ocean will be too warm from the blazing sun; sea life will only exist deeper down. How will we harvest fresh water, and dispose of our waste?

 

We will be surrounded by so much hostile space. All the trees will be gone. How will my child breathe, and learn the value of breath?

PURPLE RIVER CART

 

// -3 Months

Three days ago, the flood came. Since then, I have seen no land and no other humans. We are learning how to live in our Purple River Cart, a Long-Term Emergency Dwelling specifically designed for me and my child. Today the sea was calm and warm, so I was able to exit our Dwelling through the Access Chamber to collect organisms for our Harvest Chamber. We will maintain an ecosystem of kelp, halfmoon, and opaleye until our expelled placenta has fully matured into a self-propagating nutrient network.

 

// 0 Months

This day, our thirty-ninth day at sea, marks the introduction of my child into this aqueous, saline world. There is much to be done, and celebrated, but for now we will regain our strength in the Birth Chamber.

 

// 3 Months

Each day, my daughter and I complete our hygiene rituals in the Bath Chamber. We obtain fresh, heated water from our passive solar conduit system. Waste water is discharged through a vacuum portal passage in the double membrane.

 

Our placental network is growing well. It is moving beyond the Birth Chamber, expanding into the interstices of the double membrane.

 

// 3 Years

We spend much of our time in the Kine Chamber, learning how to move in this strange suspended world. We have little else to amuse us beyond the kinetic possibilities of our bodies, and how they sink into and rebound from the soft and stretchy walls of our haven.

 

Now that our placental network is fully matured, we have drained the Harvest Chamber so my daughter may have her own Rest Chamber.

 

// 13 Years

Today we are terrified. We have weathered storms before, but none so vicious as this. Holes have ripped in our outer membrane. The placental network is disintegrating in the deluge of frigid water. Our solar conduit system has been ripped apart.

 

My daughter stays in her Rest Chamber. I wish she would come into mine, but she does not want to witness my fear, after all these years of unfailing hope. I wonder how the others, if there are indeed still others, are faring. I wonder how much longer we will last.

// SAM GEBB

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