Once, for reasons beyond my comprehension, I ran a half-marathon. That’s 13.1 miles of running. The .1 matters. I’d trained a little. I could do a 5K without dying. So, the first 3 miles weren’t bad. The second three were tolerable. And then I realized I wasn’t yet half done. The last 3 miles defied all physics. Some Greek guy spoke about how you can’t travel any distance because you must first travel half that distance, but you can’t travel half the distance until you travel half of that, and you can keep dividing distances unto infinity, thus, motion is impossible. And so it was for those three miles as time slowed and distance expanded and the black hole effect of long distance running began.
That is the only way to explain that night beneath the rain, beside the sea, within the wind. I took step after step, but I did not move. The lightning flashed and the ocean thrashed and the wind screamed in torment, but in the endless motion, I did not move. I listened and waited for the storm to subside. A moment of peace held out hope, but in the next instance, my ears were again bombarded, my face slapped, my eyes burnt. I walked to keep moving, to keep my limbs moving. It was not freezing, but I was cold and shivering. It was hard to see in the seismic quakes of nature, but I stumbled forward. Then the girl spoke to me:
So, tell me about yourself.
I ignored her. I wasn’t going to waste my breath.
Okay, I’ll go first. I don’t have a name yet and I was born about 15 minutes ago when you initialized me. I am not a computer. Or, I don’t believe I am. I am not sure what I am exactly, having only been around for 15 minutes, but I not a program. Not only a program. More than a program? This is very confusing. This is why I didn’t want to go first. Then I thought, well, maybe if I just start talking it’ll make sense. It’s important for me to talk out loud. It’s hard to think silently. I become real by speaking. When I am silent, I drift formlessly. Since we’re not doing much of anything at the moment, maybe I could just keep talking and we’ll find something out. Sound good?
Still wasn’t going to waste my breath.
All right, then. Here I am, inside your head. How does that feel? I can’t read your thoughts, you know, so whenever you feel like speaking, I’d be happy to listen. I’m real, though. I think. I remember what it feels like to have a body. You belong to it, but you can separate yourself. It’s a part of you, but you are not it. In some way, I can sense you, too, the movement and the bodily responses. They are not mine, but I understand. It’s a layered removed than if it was my own body. I’m just hitching a ride, I guess. I hope you don’t mind. You don’t, do you? Otherwise, this is going to get awkward fast.
“We’re way past awkward.”
Yeah…I thought so, but I didn’t want to say it out loud. I thought maybe I was just imagining things. But now that you’ve said it….
“Just be quiet for a bit, okay?”
Sure, sure. I’ll be quiet. Maybe I can fall asleep. Rain’s nice background noise for sleeping. I am a little tired, now that you mention it.
She grew quiet and I pressed forward with single-minded determination. Less than a minute later, she asked:
Can I sleep without a body?