Unser bisher einziger Gast-Autor Charles berichtet regelmäßig für Spreeblick aus NYC. Diesmal wird’s persönlich. Sehr.
What a Blick it is this time…. Congratulations, J&C!
The Life Within
There is an alien lifeform growing in my wife. And it has a spine.
Living things grow in hidden spaces; quietly, invisibly, swelling with blood. This is doubly true in a house. The crawlspace in the basement? The tiny closet under the stairs? The attic? It“™s all unpatrolled territory. Even the most familiar places hide surprises: last month I found a veritable civilization of bedbugs in my bed frame, literally right under my nose. Quietly developing: so secretly, so close.
This other development is also very close. An ultrasound of my wife“™s abdomen makes H.R.Giger“™s creepiest airbrush seem like a whimsical napkin doodle. A ghostly, cone-shaped cross-section of her belly flickers in high-contrast black and white, like the side of a flashlight beam in fog. A technician slaps some buttons and spins the trackball of the machine like he“™s an old video game pro. Eventually, he finds its face. The 2D slice goes through the nose and mouth, illuminating an impossibly truncated visage. He moves the beam around, trying to catch another glimpse of the creature inside. Are those ribs? Is that a… hand? Then it actually moves.
We refer to it affectionately as The Parasite. The hospital has tried to prepare us for the literal shitstorm that we can expect when it emerges, referring to said shitstorm with the dainty euphemisms that are reserved for infants. This baby-talk has its uses: at one level, the hackneyed sentimentality is a shield from the sheer grossness of an infant“™s biological functions. At the next, it protects us from seeing ourselves in that grossness. It gives us a little distance from the birthing, dying, and shitting that every animal endures. Beneath the treacle, we are laid bare.
Phantasmagoria like Giger“™s performs a similar service for us. It absorbs the existential blow. It aspires to accept the visceral, to revel in it and thereby capture it, to hold it, to make it into a pustulous pet. But we cannot hold it. We can imitate it, we can analyze it, we can even see glimpses of it, but after those glimpses we remain human, in both our biology and our purview. The insides still lead secret lives, a universe away.
So we wear thick gloves to handle this oozing world, a world too mortalizing to hold. A hidden world we keep swaddled up in rags of normality and hubris. A baby“™s face can say too much.
„That“™s a human ear, all right.“
— David Lynch, Blue Velvet
„Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out…“
— Robert Graves, I, Claudius
„This is what happens when someone reads too much science fiction as a child.“
— A friend, over lunch.