Visibility through the Storms [A Short Story]

 

Next to is what it says it is, in French, it is a cote de, circumflex over the ‘o’ indicating an absent ‘s’ after the vowel, which makes the word cognomen with the English ‘coast,’ which means then “at the coast of,’ which is then another way to say “at the side of,” every coast being at the side of the ocean, which then could mean “beside” because whatever is beside something, is next to it, as Queens is next to Brooklyn meaning Queens is beside Brooklyn; but then does this mean that the terms are absolutely synonymous?

I do not think so.

No two words share absolute synonymy, not even ‘broad’ and ‘wide’ are interchangeable in every context of use, right?  What then do we say when we want to say how we are committed to fucking, which of course might mean reciprocally, being fucked, except there are many ways to be fucked that have nothing to do with the more preferable ways we like to fuck and be fucked. Here then is one word, in two apparently mutual and reciprocal constructions, one active, the other passive, that hold different, very different connotations, although there might be something similar to either distinction with the other, seeing as how we have too many negative connotations for sex and what we do when we have sex. It is interesting how the verb ‘fuck’ has come to mean what it does when we use it to say someone has done something wrong or nasty or violent or mean to another person. And we probably wonder why men and women or any two lovers have a difficult time staying together or making anything we like to call a relationship work. 

Who is she, you would like to know. What she is, I know many think they need to know. Where she is from, or how old she is, or when she arrived where she is here as things are told about her, might seem important to you or to you or to you, whoever any of you are, when you are where you are irrespective of what you are or what your names are, or ethnicities are, or genders are, or whatever race or religion you might choose, and people do choose race sometimes; sometimes someone is afforded this ability to choose, as if one could deny some facts for others. 

Does it matter if I am a man or a woman, or what man? or which woman? Whomever it is, he is, she is, I do not like the use of they as a singular, and I do understand how custom had decided long before it got caught up in other issues beside grammatical ones, yes, had decided that the third person plural was going toe used as the unknown pronoun? Someone left their coat, we say; the French use the second person plural as a formal singular address . . . I understand. But the use of they, their them for singular is not exactly like the french using two different you forms in the singular; Spanish technically has two third person you forms for formal address, or for those you do not know . . . I cannot express with enough conviction how much I do not give a shit in the final analysis; yes, ultimately, I do  not care; however, I won’t say that using they as a singular is other than informal, but that’s my choice. If you don’t agree, fine; if you want to harangue me over it––go fuck yourself. You want to get all up in my face about it, I might hit you over the fucking head with my fist or a small blunt object that will not likely cause death, but what can I say, as little fear I have for violence. I only don’t commit as much as I would like because I don’t want to go to jail. But then, aren’t the good in any society only those who are content to day-dream or fantasize what evil doers actually practice? Leave morality out of this. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. . .

Now . . .

To fuck or not to fuck has been her question. It has been the question for many, many women over the many millenia of human being—the existence of Homo-sapiens is yet another category to consider when we talk of the human, confusing our terms as we confound our thinking. Why shouldn’t a woman not want to fuck her brains out, not want to fuck and be fucked as in that impossible-for-an-animal-to-replicate-way we mean when we say we want to fuck like animals? Is that not an unnecessary limitation or proscription against fucking, how to fuck or how not to fuck—what could this mean for you or for me, but especially for all women or for any woman so proscribed in behavior as women have been.

Why are we so prudish? And we are, you know. Why do we still cling to Puritanical values when it comes to sex, sex and more sex, especially if it concerns a woman and her choices of whom she wishes to fuck and how she wishes to fuck and how often or how much when she does fuck, fuck and fuck again. I am still puzzled by the notion that others have anything to say, or should have anything to say, when what a woman should want in the matter and manner of her sexual experiences is the topic of concern—why should it be, does it become a consideration? I am not very concerned for how or why others fuck unless it is I who is doing the mutual fucking.

For humans, to fuck or not to fuck may or may not be to mate–propagation of the species not exactly limited to the animal drive to survive. Humans do mate to have children, but to have children is not exactly what she meant by having offspring. It was never what she meant by wanting to fuck. Having a room that smelled of fuck in the morning, she said with a smile. I love the smell of fuck in the morning, I too said. To fuck or not to fuck for the pleasure of fucking. There is something anti-pleasure about our hedonism today. What did she mean, though, by saying she loved to fuck. Why should it be asked? Who is it that needs to know, what kind of person, what kind of man––would a woman ask this question? What am I? Why would you need answers to these?

II

We imagine sex is natural, but do we imagine what being natural is? Sex is natural and sex is civilized, or the nature of sex has been civilized in the choice a human makes, to fuck or not to fuck; is it nobler in some minds to fuck as in to mate, or is it to end all imperatives of having children or offspring and just enjoy the fucking while the fiucking is good? I love to fuck, she said. We do know that chimpanzees fuck have fucked and will likely continue to fuck face-to-face. Nothing but the missionary way for the monkeys? Or is the missionary way now to be called the monkey way?

Sex is natural as in being an extension of nature, but nature is almost always not about choice but imperatives of survival and responses to stimuli. For men, fucking almost always leads to ejaculation, ejaculation under most circumstances leads to insemination–I am not sure a man coming in the ass of another man is exactly what we call insemination, although we might come to a place where we can say this. For the time being, insemination and ejaculation are separate distinctions in the process of male human release of semen. Insemination under most circumstances is natural; even under other circumstances, the physiological process of insemination is natural, biologically, reproductively. A man fucking a woman in the ass . . . what then do we say about sex when it is not for the purposes of having children–this too is natural. There is the horror of ejaculation without orgasm, or without intense orgasm, or without the kind of orgasm that  one would want,, would like, would think to admit is normal as in what happens for the most part for him. All about pace and rhythm, harmony and . . . never mind.

When insemination leads to pregnancy, this process of insemination is also natural, even under the most uncivilized and barbaric conditions for the insemination. What then must we say? She asks, has asked, did ask, will ask, will have asked, would have, could have maybe even should have, at this time or another time, that time and yet again this one when it is how it is for whomever it is, for her as for you as for me as for everyone everywhere every-when.

I have not yet assumed that medically induced miscarriage is also natural, unless that’s what we are saying, that the natural flip-side of pregnancy and birth is abortion, she said. We might–she did not. How the fuck do men imagine that they have anything to say about what a woman does with her pregnancy? She used to ask. I remember, having been as close to her as I have gotten over time.

Nor did I wonder, as she did, as I said above, that abortion was the natural flip-side of pregnancy. Abortion, though, is civilized, at least when it is medical practice and not some form of butchery, the latter still practiced in the world, as there are also still clitoridectomies performed on women in African Muslim societies because the double whammy of being West African tribal illiterate, suffering a breakdown of tribal knowledge and identity in the aftermath of misguided nationalist movements following the guidelines and boundary lines of previously carved colonies under one or another variation of European imperialism, coupled with the superimposition of endemic Semitic misogyny [–and do not try to tell me that Semitic civilizations even when compared with Roman antiquity were not horribly misogynist] over a fractured tribal illiteracy, has left African muslim societies some of the most tragically inhumane societies in the world when the matter and manner of a woman’s sexual expression is considered.

III

Of course, ICBMs are also products of civilization, perhaps civilization coupled with our natural Homo-Sapien inclinations that find frightening parallels in how close to the nature of the chimpanzee we Homo-sapiens really are; there is something striking about how close our DNA is to a chimp’s. He also did not assume that abortion was natural. He was inclined to think that habit mimics nature, but that is for another trying out. But then chimpanzees fuck face-to-face, as I have said, yes, kissing while copulating; they engage in foreplay, but then I do not know anything about how hippopotami mate; maybe the male hippo licks the female hippo’s ass before he mounts her. How the hell do I know? I ask, he says.

In the ways that biology and psychology are connected, interconnected, mutually influential, I’m not so sure that abortion is as easy on a young girl as some defenders of her right to choose may assume. Psychological ramifications are always going to exist. Choice has results and consequences. These consequences are not, though, arguments against the right to choose. They are simply facts we cannot avoid if we are going to justly defend a person ‘s right to choose, thus a woman’s right to choose. It is a human right, as I have asserted elsewhere, this right to choose, but in being a human right, a woman’s right to choose birth or abortion is part of her larger right to choose anything that she suffers the consequences of. And women do suffer the consequences of birth, abortion or miscarriage. How she suffers is individual, but suffering must be understood in a broader category of inclusion–crucifixion like suffering is not the only kind of suffering, she said. She has said everything herein this paragraph.

She was not suffering; she was not in a dilemma, not as far as anyone could discern from what she was saying, what she had said, what she was going to say . . . she did not look as if she were having any difficulty. She was the kind of woman who would not show difficulty to too many people, if any, under such circumstances. I am going to do it, she said. She said she had no choice, which I found ironic, given the circumstance and what she was about to do. What if a girl is not ready to have a child, as many pro-choice advocates assert, then why do we assume, except out of convenience, that she is ready to abort the child (?), the embryo? she said. I recall many, many years ago my mother mentioning over a dinner where the issue of abortion was raised, that she remembered a friend who had had a miscarriage, and it was a miscarriage my mother insisted, repeating it many times then for what reason I could not have guessed, she said. What she went on to tell us at the table was that the woman who had had the miscarriage woke up in the middle of the night every night for about a week after the miscarriage crying, not just crying, but sobbing, she said. I remember a girl telling me of her sister who had recently gotten married and had a miscarriage and also woke up several times that week crying, she said. The sister had wanted the baby. What is the point? You ask, she said. If a woman could wake every night sobbing from a miscarriage, obviously affected deeply, why do we assume that an abortion for a younger woman, a girl, would be easy, would go without a hitch, she said. I am not as certain about this as some seemed to be. But of course it is not an easy choice; of course there are many rocks and hard places for a girl or woman to find herself between; but this is not to hinder us from understanding that a woman’s right to choose must be respected, protected, she said.

However, we who would protect her rights must never assume that our actions are giving the rights to her, that unless we stand up for protecting her rights, her rights will cease to exist, she said. This is a mistake, she added. She has her rights whether we protect them or not, she insisted. Her rights are absolute and universal; the law can only respect and protect her rights; can only insure her rights can be exercised, she said. She paused. She looked at everyone present as if they opposed what she was saying.

The right itself is transcendent of what the laws say about her, she said. This we have to understand, she said. It is not our efforts to protect a woman’s right to choose that gives her her right to choose, she insisted emphatically. Yes, the law does not give her her rights; my rights are not given to me by the law, she said. There are too many who imagine that it is the law that gives a woman her rights, anyone their rights, which is why we continually misunderstand them, mishandle them, she said, I remember.

IV

She had had it because she was not ready to have it–you might want me to say that she said No one is ever ready for this. But I won’t because I can’t because she said no such thing. As she said, I cannot have this fucking baby with you. He said nothing when she did. Maybe she could not have the fucking baby with him–whether choosing an abortion is easy or difficult for a woman is not the issue. She decided and could act on her decision without fear of intervention or reprisals, provided he was not a really sick fuck.

The issue is the ability to act on one’s right to choose, and if an antiseptic medical procedure is to be performed or something more than barbaric, something out of a chamber of horrors, something grotesque and inhumane is practiced. He did not argue. He did not throw a fit–he was also savvy enough to know that even if he had wanted to throw a fit, it would not be okay for him to do so and he would not want the people he knew to think he was the kind of man who would throw a fit about a woman wanting to have an abortion rather than have his child–their child. He did not go and buy a gun as many opponents to current guns laws would like to make out he would or might or could or was likely to do . . .

We have assumed that what is natural is right without addressing just what nature is, or just what we mean by saying something is natural as opposed to or not opposed to what is civilized. I have purposely not addressed normality because what is normal is highly relative, being subject to normative behavioral standards which are always in flux to such a degree or extent that mandating them has always been difficult if not controversial. The norm for a Nazis and the norm for a practicing Christian might be very far apart, or simply as dissimilar as night from day. It seems in our culture, in our contemporaneity, we love the gloaming, thinking is a dusk or dawn of the mind, that is our collective mind, that is, in our mentality. There is a norm for every context of observation; there is a norm for healthy and one for sick. We are not here to address the normality or even the naturalness of birth or abortion.

We understand that one way of thinking about natural for people are the forces or the energies or imperatives or responses to stimuli that are governed by biology. In this way sex is natrual and therefore sex is good in itself until we do something about it. Shitting and pissing are good, and it is their absence or disfunction that becomes bad. In these ways, nature is unavoidable and linked with the health of the body and the person. If he had fucked her in the ass the night she got pregnant–or if she had only broken down and given him a blow job instead of being the uptight witch she was usually [his words] . . . but then . . . it is a woman’s rights we are concerned for here, and more specifically, her right to choose. To choose is everything; the right to choose is a fundamental human right. Without it, with any interruption of her access to this right, with any impediment set up to prevent her from acting on this right and making choices freely, we are attacking her humanity just as surely as if we took a club and hit her over the head.

What then must we do? We must ask ourselves if there can be anything called human that is not humane, and whether humanity is ever present where the humane is absent? The answer from here has to be no. No, no and no again . . . abortion is normal, abortion is abnormal. Birth is natural, birth is not natural. What is natural is right, right cannot be determined by nature. Norms are the arithmetic of ethics; ethics cannot be judged arithmetically. I can’t imagine that either side of the abortion issue has a hot line to any young woman, to whom or what she is . . . who are all women are? What, where or when are the many selves she houses in her Self?

Questions that need to be asked and articulated in response or answer. No one sees with her eyes; nor does she see the same way every day, day in and day in again over time. Is she the same person she was ten years ago, the same she was last year, the same as last night? Is she the same woman with her lover as she is with her mother or grandmother or father or brother or elderly neighbor or boss or co-worker, the mailman, the dentist, her gynecologist? No.

No one thinks with her mind, feels her pain, her joy or her pleasure. I have said this before in other words in other essays, let repetition become a motif in an argument in the cause of a woman’s right to choose. Only she has sovereignty over her body and mind; only she can make this choice rightfully. How many times can this be said? How many ways? We do not imagine what our thinking leads to, we cannot in too many cases see our way clearly to sane and rational conclusions. We are not taught to think this way, but to brainstorm instead. In these mental storms we mange to raise in our minds, visibility is shortened, the bluster is intensified, the clarity of vision is impaired as is the ability to hear or listen. How much clarity is there during a thunderstorm, a tornado, a hurricane, a blizzard?

Please stop doing what you have imagined is thinking and actually think about this; spitting back partially chewed pieces of received ideas or parroting responses is not what we should call thinking–randomly passing images in the mind is not thinking either; nor is playing hop-scotch with words–rhetorical ping-pong is another’s idiot’s delight. We also at times raise our own storms around a woman to obfuscate her choices, dim the light by which she can see her way to an intelligent and carefully reflective choice. No, we instead cause her greater and greater distress, sometimes on both sides of the issue, pro or con, assuming we know the simple separate woman as well if not better than she does. No one can.

Pro and con pickets out side abortion clinics are about as insensitive as either side can get; I am not assuming violence belongs in the category of insensitivity. It is far more heinous if you need it spelled out.

What the fuck is anyone talking about when they talk about abortion? She asked, when is irrelevant. No one says anything I can relate to–not really, she said. No, I really want to know what the fuck anyone thinks he or she is saying on either side or any side of this issue debate whatever else we call it in our degraded understanding of human being in this world, any world anywhere at any time in any language; or, in any impossible to conceive reactionary attachment to what one or another lunatic–in the service of, or faith to, his or her God or Gods or spirits or other metaphysical forces– addresses, pronounces, asserts, demands, adheres to, supports, defends . . . the latter often with his life or her life, but almost assuredly the lives of others who do not believe with as much vehemence and violence what this lunatic believes, and almost assuredly without the conviction this lunatic holds for knowing the mind of his God, as many, yes, Muslim terrorists exhibit by committing acts of sacrilege and blasphemy by doing what they are convinced Allah wants them to do, she said.

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