Body Shop

Those who insist most vehemently that

we’re so much more than the sum of our parts

probably don’t even know

or can’t accept

what their own parts are.

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Unwelcome Visitor: The Story

The Monster

Editor’s Note:  This post is sort of a riddle, and is longer than most you will find here.  I challenge the reader to figure out the answer before reading the follow-up post, “Unwelcome Visitor:  The Answer,” which will be published tomorrow.

At first, I thought the creature was known to me, had visited before on occasion — not kindly but not threateningly — and had soon left with an unspoken promise to return from time to time.  Part of my life that simply was.

But it morphed into a monster that reached out from somewhere deep in my past, fiercely snapped its jaws around my torso, violently whipped my ragdoll body about in random unfamiliar arcs, let me drop into a dazed heap, and plonked down on my back to contemplate its next move.

I was left inside a skin that cringed at the merest touch, that I wanted desperately to shed.  The merest shadow of touch made me pull away.  Angry pustules erupted where the giant’s jaws had crunched down.  I was, head to toe, a deep despondent ache, shot through at unexpected intervals with blinding rivers of fire.  My bodymind raced down every neuropathway to find some previous experience that might inform me of the outcome of this encounter.  Nothing.

A day passed, then three.  Gradual emergence from the abyss.  And then a signpost on the memory map of my life caught my eye and there it was, unbidden, the answer — it found a perch, percolated, and jelled, and I understood that this beast had been begotten within my own body.  That we had struggled with each other before, and most likely would again.

And I made peace with it.