It’s a funny feeling. Like being very, very full. Like you’ve swallowed a bag of fish, large fish, maybe even small dolphins that swim and wriggle and move in their own ways, independent and yet strangely coordinated. One of the dolphins likes to curl up like a golf ball and stick out your side at night. Another does little leaps and another rolls over a lot like a little whale and another more feisty one flips and kicks, showing off perhaps. Another does hiccups.
And the strangest thing is you love the fish and dolphins, and you’ve never seen them before, and you certainly can’t imagine that they form one complete human. Even though you’ve seen the ultrasound, and what lurks in there is, indeed, human and whole. You expected back then to see just a collection of fragments, a Miro painting, a loose floating of various little planets, a galaxy of dust.
So many strange sensations. Changes. You were once a silent sleeper and now when you roll into bed your breathing is that of someone who’s just run up six flights of stairs with heavy shopping, or as The Love says, John Candy. You don’t dream, you barely sleep and every two to three hours you rise to release mysterious waters sent down from the gods that have no possible way of being contained inside of you. To pee that much you’d have to have drunk down six or seven large fishtanks. And you haven’t.
But you are a fishtank. A big swampy one that’s awkward to manoeuvre through doorways. With a creepy filter that hums and blows bubbles through the night. Hopefully there are some little castles and treasures down there to keep the fish entertained. Gosh it’s hard to imagine there’s just one complete creature in there. The man in the épicerie continually reminds you of this by insisting you’re expecting twins. “Jumelles ou jumeaux?” he insists, chuckling every time. He is fat, next time you should ask him what he’s expecting. “Un de chaque,” you respond, trying not to be gruff, but it is the hundredth time he’s cracked the same joke. He is nice, but you do wish you’d just buy a 6-pack of Badoît next time and a whole packet of marshmallow bears rather than continually having to run down there. But the six pack is too heavy for you.
Oh, heavy, tired old you. What is supposed to happen from here? Today you and The Love decided it was time to call for the inhabitant(s) of the tank to become aware that all your projects were finished, that she was well ripe, and that the terrestrial world was well and truly ready to receive her and all her parts. You did the traditional ‘Lovers Day’ route – starting at St Paul, a panaché and a Leffe outside the Petit Fer-à-Cheval, a visit to the hat-shop, camembert tart and an insane lemon millefeuille at La Loir dans la Théière where the woman at the table next to you proudly displayed her sweet 4-month old and complained to you about her awful birth at the Hôpital Tenon where you spent a dreadful hour after your accident years ago. Then a wander in the sunshine to the Café Hugo to say hi to Flo but he wasn’t there, a meander along the Rue de Rivoli to buy you some Converse and save your oh so aching back, a visit to the Pompidou for fun. On the metro a kind man stood up for you and you gratefully fell down like a sack of lumpy potatoes.It’s time. There is so much wonder and excitement and terror and this fantastic ecstasy-like drug-bomb feeling at least four or five times a day – you wonder how you’ll go back to ‘normal life’. You suppose you never shall.
|Michael Leunig 'Seven fish in the afternoon'|