We were drinking £1.50 gin and tonics at the bar down the street from his place, the one with the giant plastic palm tree reaching up to the ceiling. It was my last night in London, and he wanted to stay out so we could keep talking. We swayed a bit with drunkenness. We were trying to think of ways to comfort ourselves against the distance and time we were enduring without each other. Two cities. Uncountable hours on the bus. He said that he thought our bodies were just extensions of our minds. “The body is an afterthought, it’s the abstract connection we have that matters,” he argued. “Like when we Skype, our minds may be temporarily riding the same wavelength and connected in conversation, but our bodies are completely elsewhere. Maybe we should sleep with other people when we’re away, and it won’t mean anything because it’s just our bodies.” I felt uneasy then, and I didn’t know if I agreed. I also didn’t know yet that I was pregnant, sitting on that damp wooden bench with him.
All the ovulation calculators I Googled were wrong. I sat on my mattress, staring at the two-lined damp plastic test, whispering fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck
Later that night in the bathtub I thought to myself, this is the first time my body has ever done anything.
The only thing my body has ever really done, without me (against me?). Thirty years of some kind of passivity. Realizing I’ve had thoughts of my body as an ornament, and that I’ve seen my body through the eyes of others. I’ve catered to it this way, adorned it with clothing and shaved it, applied eyeliner to it, despite my surface denial, cries against conformity and the heteronormative dating system. My body is not just an extension of my mind, this it proved to me.
In the bathtub, I used to read lines from books like “We use each other like axes to cut down the ones we really love”. Lines like “She was a summation of all the quotes and poets she had ever read – what clever woman is more?” In the bathtub I used to get angry at dead male writers.
Now in the bathtub I look at my belly, feel it slurping and bubbling, brewing. I feel the water softening me, dissolving the surface barrier between itself and my body. I am the water too. No longer a single entity, I also carry another, which connects me to the rest – starts joining with the surroundings I have ignored, until now, because of my inward focus. My tears fall into the water and later my blood does too. This mix flows down the drain, also joining the residual seepages of others. My body in the water feels both tangible and soluble now, and, most importantly, more present than it has ever been.