I was having dinner with a woman.
She was familiar to me in the dream, but no one I know in real life.
We made chit-chat, and somewhere in the middle
she said, rather out of the blue, "You're way sexier than any man."
I remember thinking--in the dream--am I not a man? What defines a
man, anyway? I wasn't upset by this, more uplifted. I thought no, I am
not a man--not just a man--I am something more. And we had sex,
and it was implausibly good.
Afterwards, she dreamily looked me in the eyes,
and slid her hand around the back of my neck. I grabbed her hand
and said, "No, don't." She sighed, "You know we have to."
I sighed in turn, pursed my lips while trying to pucker them at
the same time, and pressed them to hers. "Nice fish kiss," she
said, and suddenly I noticed I was feeling very tired. She
noticed this too, and I felt her fingers sliding up the back of my
neck, pressing firmly inward.
I bolted upright in bed, my own hand palming the nape of my
neck as if to protect it from more unwanted prodding. Laura
stirred, rolled toward me and sleepily draped her arm
around the bend of my waist. I sat there palpating the back
of my own head. The dream had been so compelling, so real;
I was captivated. My prodding found nothing unusual,
but I wasn't quite prepared to push hard where I feared in that
moment I had an off switch. But I could resolve this another
Throwing back the covers, I stormed out of bed, nearly dragging
Laura out with me. I found the nearest piece of
pottery and smashed it against the stone floor, sorting through
the rubble for large, sharp fragments. Laura extracted herself
from the mess of blankets and sat up blinking profusely but not
saying a word. One by one I started through the fragments,
dragging their edges firmly across my finger, trying to find
one sharp enough to draw blood. Laura finally registered what
I was doing, ran over and grabbed the bits out of my hands yelling,
simply, "Stop that!"
I sat there on the floor, back against the wall, toes idly
twiddling with bits of broken ceramic. Laura loomed over me
like a mother preparing to scold her child. Then I saw
the tiny plume of red erupt from the floor, and looked up
to see the blood dripping from her fingers. She followed
my eyes and discovered the same, dropped the fragments on the floor. I leapt to my feet to take care of her, saying only
"sorry sorry sorry sorry" the whole time until I was annoying
myself with it as much as her. The fragments were plenty
sharp. My fingers are fine.
Still it seemed a ludicrous proposition, so while I was wrapping
bits of cloth around her fingers I thought to see how long I
could hold my breath. That would be many hours now and running,
except, as I find, I have to breathe to speak. The urge to breathe
grows at first in the usual manner, but just to a point and
no further. I feel no ill effects from this whatsoever, except
that I have started farting profusely in the last half hour or
so. I guess I'll take up breathing again, as I am by now convinced
that either I am superhuman, or not human at all. And the farting is
annoying if not actually hazardous.
Once again I find myself expecting to wake up from this dream.
If I could hasten that by pinching myself, I would, but alas
even going at my fingers with sharp bits hasn't done it, so I
have but to wait, or to accept.
It occurs to me in retrospect I should have expected...this.
Or, to be more accurate, anything, many things. Despite all
my purported faith in my own project, I never really believed
it would work without a hitch. I assumed it would be a good
first try, a huge batch of data to keep us busy for years
refining the process. But what if it worked without a hitch?
If I had gone in with that expectation, I would have woken up
from the scan immediately asking myself, "Am I the original,
or am I the copy?" And from that expectation, I would have
had to conclude in short order that I, the me that is here
writing this entry now, am but a copy--one of god knows how
many, or where, or when.
I am a copy.
I will have to sit with this thought for a while.
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