In response to Roisin O’Gorman’s “The Ontogenetic Body”
When I was a child I moved a lot. My parents divorced and my mother followed the work, escaped the past. She tells me we lived in a basement apartment without a bathtub once, so she bought a kiddie pool to bathe me in, sea creatures on the sides. You could always find me there with or without water she said, pretending to be in the ocean.
Recently, she moved again, this time from a small community where most my formative memories lie, on a beach with an expansive lake, no visible other side. I remember always wanting her to swim with me, but she preferred the sand and a book and a beer, complaining the water was too cold, always too cold. That didn’t stop me from going in the water. The temperature didn’t seem to register on my skin. The sensation of swimming, of diving, of jumping with the waves was all I could feel. I could swim out there in the no temperature lake on my own for hours, so I did. The feeling of swimming would accompany me to my bed at night, the room uneven in motion until I fell asleep, my dreams rocking back and forth, back in the water.
I was writing one summer, the summer before she moved. Partly out of a need for quiet and privacy to write on my own, and partly out of a deep rooted longing for that house to stay mine, I spent a week alone there turning out pages, and swimming. One evening I got there at that perfect time when the sun and the moon are battling it out in the horizon at the end of waves. My body moved through the water like my childhood dreams, watching the celestial orbs moving through space and time. The no temperature water started to feel a little cold that time.