Blood and Guts

I haven’t really wanted to just free-write or free-blog recently. There has been a little big going on in my life. There have been two huge quadrants of emotions ruling my psyche recently. The first one being the birth of my sons Teaghan and Gren, identical twin boys. Pure happiness hit when they were born, like I was blessed by a dozen supernatural forces. I look at them, and I see the possibility and the love for the human condition. They are hope. Unfortunately, within one week of this trial of love, my dog and best friend of eight years Millie came down with a variety of health ailments, and I was forced to put her down. This was without a doubt the most gut-wrenching moment of my life. It was like some phantom’s hand had scooped out part of my chest, and left me with this empty and irrelevant void, that only memory could fill halfway. It is through these two jarring emotional sequences that I have learned that as humans we are defined by blood and guts.

You can strip it all away pretty easily. You can shake the modern conveniences loose around our lives, eradicate the very Starbucks I’m drinking right now, and you’ll find the basic urges to live or die. Every moment I was living, my soul, genetic code, and being was some solitary essence waiting on time to decay me. Having sons now has changed that completely. I’m passed on in some string of DNA. My traits, my emotions, and my monsters have been blueprinted to someone else in this reality. In a way you feel honored by genetics. Something about you needs to be passed onto the world by the hidden forces powering our veins and bile. So you look down and see a piece of yourself looking back at you.

In the operating room, where they cut open the abdomen and uterus of my fiance, I could feel the primal forces of our making circling about the florescent lights and steel tables.  When they pulled me in to the OR, I wanted to scream. The room felt never-ending, like a stretched rectangle from some magical realism movie. Metal was everywhere, along with tubes, syringes, glittering tools, and devices hunched over like little slaves. There was more science than life. There was more industrial than organic. Maybe you needed that ratio. You needed to have all those cadavers dissected by the renaissance thinkers. All those experiments from various wars we bought with morality. All the many centuries of medical education leading to one incision below her belly button.

She was awake on the table partly crying. She wanted to look around and soak in her surroundings, but she only focused on me and the nurses standing around me. They were inside her noiselessly, like it was another excel spreadsheet being made in a cubicle in some grey lined office building. I tried to joke, and stop from swallowing my tongue, but eventually one of the nurses told me to look over the curtain protecting my fiance from acknowledging the frailty of her flesh, to witness the birth of my son. It was like a giant blue shield you’d expect an opera star to step out of, but the only sounds were suction lapping and tools clinking. I looked over the wall and into my fiances body. My son, my oldest, Teaghan had not emerged yet, so I had one moment to peer into the sinewy portal between birth and oblivion.

It was like I was staring at the lining of two worlds. A grey membrane was coated in loose trails of blood, like they were trying to reconnect with the living machine they’d been exiled from. It reminded me of every portal between the underworld and reality present in movies and games. The door from Fullmetal Alchemist. Every undead rift from popular horror movies like Poltergeist or Evil Dead. The fabric of birth and life was right there wiggling about like a sack of blind snakes. You could feel the moment coming. Before Geneva went under the knife, months before during a sleepless night, she said that with her previous children she could feel all her ancestors in the room with her. For me, I could feel the boundary, the hazy line between where life starts and ends. The whole room acknowledged it in their own way, despite the doctor’s mundane and routine determination of operating.

Hacking into a living human being to pull another breathing being out was just another day at the office.

Then came the moment, when they pulled my oldest son Teaghan out of her body. He appeared like it was a magic trick. The pool of simmering flesh wiggling around beneath his quivering feet still had his brother. I’ve heard the cliches. The most popular being your life changes in a instance. It’s true. When they pulled him out like this larva from a still-beating egg, he looked purely afraid of the world around him. Then he started crying. Then I knew, in my own selfish staying up late eating potato chips and watching anime way, my life was over, and it was time to push his forward. He needed me, and I needed to be there with him. His crying hooked into my chest. Gren appeared one minute later, and they cried together in some biological unison known only to identical twins.

It was all blood and guts.

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