There’s a girl sitting over there. She’s slightly hunched, clutching her stomach and her neck is jutting out at a weird angle.Come to think of it, her portrait looks kinda like a stone turtle, long unmoving neck, heavy head and exposed tummy. She hasn’t had her period in three months but she’s a virgin.
It’s like there’s something growing in there, inside her soft belly, and it’s really the only movement I can sense within her. Other than that, her foot may shift or her hand scratch an itch but she is still.
Her head is so heavy, I realize. That’s why it’s drooping a bit and I can tell she wouldn’t mind just dropping it, letting it hit the floor. It’s made of stone but certainly not hollow; if dropped, it might shatter and release noxious gas enough to smother everyone in the library.
The seed inside her belly starts to grow great tendrils of dread that reach up through her intestines, seeking to join their friends of woe inside the turtle’s head. However, at the scaly pit of her throat, there seems to be a divide that won’t allow the tendrils through. That’s where the nausea lives, in that empty cavern that wants and accepts only emptiness.
Perhaps she’s hungry for whatever turtles eat? She’s hungry enough to try devouring the whiteness of this paper with words. Perhaps she’s restless to get outside or get some exercise– she’s been trapped in the office for several weeks now and hasn’t had the chance to curl the fins of her soft tummy over the sides of an exercise bike and pedal 17k/h for 25 minutes like she usually does 3 to 4 times a week.
No, emptiness is not the problem. It’s the huge retracting pressure that’s pulling the walls of her shell inwards; the tendrils and the nausea and the heavy head are three spheres beginning to be combined into a Venn diagram, then finally one sphere. A turtle curled up inside its shell, heavy and shut-eyed.
No, there is no movement, only the probing of the tendrils and the longing of these spheres to unite. The only thing stopping them are the cursed, antiquated structures of anatomy, the epiglottis which separates stomach from throat, and the blood-brain barrier which separates throat from mind. All of these useless and antiquated, yet stopping her from total collapse.
Her mind’s already curled inside the shell, though her neck continues to jut out at a truly ridiculous angle. The mind must really be separate from the body, Descartes, because she’s certainly not filling hers out. And yet she does inhabit her body– you can see her there, bound within the ancient halls of the skull. Perhaps if someone punctured a hole in it, it might release all the hot air?
All the turtle can do is devour and devour more food and water and music and paper and love until it diffuses back into its body and flow out of its gates and into the world.
Apparently this stone turtle can be found by a monastery in Mongolia. It’s a really cool work of art. (featured image from UNESCO) I don’t mean to trivialize or claim meaning for this statue itself.