I divert my eyes to this screen from a fine moleskin book, its opening page entitled ‘an investigation into Sam’s bowels.’
It is my book naturally.
For this last year, you see, has not been all rosy.
That is to say that between frolicking in the rose beds, I have been exposed to their thorns, and these have come in the form of attacks to that most critical of possessions; good health.
In one sentence:
I have been suffering from flatulence.
This perhaps sounds comic, and yes I too shall join you for a laugh (ha, ha) as I recall tutoring lessons spent in great terror, farting away by necessity, only one in every hundred ever smelly, yet never a scapegoat in sight, a nonetheless fiery game of Russian roulette I was made to play.
If it were only embarrassment at stake, I would be hardly troubled. Though it is the pain instead… the constant bloating, the constant cramps, the constant wonder as to what is wrong.
What is wrong? What is wrong? The thought drones, impossible to stop.
You see the problem with pain is that it and thought are products of the same nervous system. Where does the mind end, when its fingers stretch to every inch of the body? A case in point; the octopus contains far more neural mass in its tentacles than brain, so is it these that are conscious?
These days I often wonder if my stomach is conscious.
It makes a continual mental din, over which I can’t think my usual (magnificent) thoughts.
What is wrong? I ache, what is wrong?
Shhhhh, you ache little, and you distract me much… there is the universe to contemplate!
(a line that seldom works, for our intimate relationship allows him to know I have not much better to ever contemplate)
He does not stop. The Universe is put on hold, life is put on hold, my head in bed is bloated like my belly. My head is my belly.
But slowly, slowly I learn what is wrong. Slowly, slowly I can think of nothing else but food. Patterns emerge, my stomach throws up images of what it no longer wishes to have… we talk, we reconcile, we move forward.
For while I do not wish to hear him anymore, I forget that he is perhaps the one who wishes more not to have to be heard. That congregation of neurons lining the stomach walls does not talk at will… he is a listener… an introvert.
He only talks because he’s been made to talk.
He has been tortured by milk.
Lactose, you old devil. How many stomachs have you awoken consciousness in? How many heads have you made emerge inside their bowels? How many thoughts of the Universe have you halted?
And without you; the miracle… the pain is gone, the talk ceases, my head rises from the bowels, from the book, and back I come, to life, to this screen, to the world. My stomach quietens, conscious thought recedes to the highest organ, and I am free to think as I please.
An ocean of possibility now lays ahead of me, and I see again that endless choice of thoughts that await for humanity to only reach out and grasp.
The brain sparks a thunderstorm, like the lungs take a deep breath…
The surface of the sea ripples before him…
“What shall I have for dinner?”
Fine comic writing gains effect from showing us a new surprising way to see our world. We smile and carry away a new thought. I loved your novel reflections on consciousness. So glad you have a line on what was ailing you. x
Thank you Dad for another comment, they mean a lot to me, and so does a healthier belly. I think All Bran may actually be the culprit now, your own staple of a healthy diet!
Splendid. What diet do you follow now? You mentioned some enigmatic acronym…
It’s called FODMAP.
However a recent turn in events: I think too much fibre was causing the problem. I’ve stopped having muesli or all bran for breakfast and am feeling much better. Don’t do FODMAP unless completely necessary, it is a pain in the colon.