It had shrunken. If one could peer through his skin and look at his stomach, it would resemble something like a balloon deflated and on the verge of implosion, every wrinkle creased inwards like a withered paper bag, roiling and grumbling for sustenance. But there was reason to the madness. The emptiness of his body left an emptiness of his mind, filling the vacuum of satiation with clarity. Every noise he was aware of and every thought, though he could hardly suffer to move, came across through crystalline glass filtered of the extraneous static that thought is so often accompanied with. The pain was only slightly excruciating, he reasoned. The slightest of movements shivered delicious spasms up and down his spine, and at what price, he thought? A moment’s worth of meat and mead? There would be enough dining in the grave if one’s penchant were for worms, but then there would be no need at that time either.
This, he exclaimed to no one in particular, was the height of self-awareness; to feel with every breath the air filling the lungs; to touch with every finger the sensation and bumps and edges of boundaries and lines; to know; to understand. And there was much to understand! The reasons for sorrow; the reasons for anger. The reasons for delusion, perhaps his own but also the world’s. He laughed, the hollow noise rustling through the hot afternoon and clinging to the breeze as if a leaf dangling from the highest branch. His voice wavered for a moment but found strength again, and it surprised him that the laughter seemed to have no end; it rolled out, on and on, ringing through the petulant air. In this way, he clung: the merest tug might send him reeling through miles of empty space.
[Original Post Date: 05/12/2004]