About eight years ago, on a perfectly prosaic afternoon, my stomach began to speak.
An intense, atrocious, protracted session of peristalsis, followed by a brisk, tumultuous upsurge of winds and abominable forces, and ended, markedly, on a raucous, obnoxious-sounding tone. Before you quickly dismiss it as some regular “burp” induced by chuggings of carbonated drinks — no, there were no such liquid involved. What’s more, those monstrous roars did not just terminate there, it went on, for nearly two years.
Unlike me, my stomach, that pesky goblin, was quite a babbler. Any psychological professional would indubitably diagnose it with logorrhoea. Every hour, every half-hour, every quarter, every minute. It was relentlessly appropriating my tongue, my lips, my larynx; monomaniacally distorting, reconfiguring, and exploiting them to the max. It was insatiable of expressing, revealing, ranting, confessing. Soon, I could no longer tell its utterances from mine.
With the procession of these bizarre organ-ic (gastric) speeches, the pain that preceded each attempt of pronunciation alleviated to some degree, but the frequency and fortitude of the sound persisted. People started looking at me suspiciously: startled, perplexed, offended, abhorred. In their eyes, I must be like a walking firecracker, blasting out inexhaustible bursts in ofttimes inadmissible settings. Or, a growling critter, a bare flesh, solely capable of communicating hunger, agitation, dejection, discontent via guttural motilities. As much as I relish being deemed anomalous or incongruous, I certainly would not opt to deviate in this manner, with this much physio-psychological agonies inflicted.
Nights were the most gruesome. Before sleep, as I laid supine on the bed, my damn vicious goblin would still desperately seek to get its messages out. However, with such posture, most of its 'words' could only bump strenuously up to the middle of the esophagus, before slumping rather disgruntledly back into the belly. These unvented voices would then unleash their squelched ferocity by cutting, slicing, colliding, darting into my stomach walls, revelling in their deranged havoc.
More grotesquely, these amalgamated fumes would further make my belly swell, bulge, hypertrophically, to the point that no one would deny I was visibly carrying a baby— or at least some kind of xeno-species — inside my body. How I wish it could just burst open my torso, pierce its fangs through my neck, and extricate me from these unremitting pains and sufferings once for all. But it never did. Gastric spasm and contortions gradually depleted everything that was left inside of me: bones, fluids, musculatures; sensations, desires, vitalities. They were severed, shredded, snatched out, dislocated; outside of me, aloof from me: dank, clammy, frivolous, floating in the air. I felt like a hollowed vessel, and sounded like a possessed skeleton, sputtering demonic cyphers, volatile substances, convolutions of voids, barely human language. How was the body capable of producing such clusters of 'cirrocumulus lacunosus'1, in such infinite bulks? How long has the weather been surreptitiously brewing? Something must have been latently incubating in the substrata of my flesh, for years, ages, aeons, before eventually unleashing its cataclysmic might.
She had that dream again. The only recurring dream she's ever had. When was the first time, 14, 15? She couldn't quite recall. Leaden, misty, blurry ambience. From afar, looking down, she saw herself pinned in the corner of an agora: an anxious dollop, a jittery, jilted, fog-coloured molecule, surrounded by iron-coloured molecules coalescing and vibrating zealously.
"Am I… nullified?", she thought to herself, "an invisible, gaseous, vaporous cavity?" Flustered, she sprinted maniacally away from the crowds, straight into a precipitously erected arcade. Inside, it was sinuous, dusky, and seemingly never-ending. Nevertheless, that was her "twilight zone", her ingress, her portal to alternative temporalities. She discerned a pale yet fixed light-spot ahead, and accelerated resolutely. She reached that threshold, took a giant leap, and found herself engulfed in nothing but more "voids", that sea of dreadful, devouring, suffocating white matters. She drowned.
Somatic abnormalities were nothing compared to the undiagnosable quality of my situation. The unknown, the one that escaped 'modern science' , that rendered the physiological, the anatomical unamenable to medical proficiencies. I was no stranger to mental tumult, but never had I assumed that 'the psychological' could materialise into such specific bodily deformities. I tried to communicate the severity and bizarreness of my condition to assorted docs, only to have it normalised as some humdrum, banal gastroenteric symptoms, 'indubitably curable/manageable' through several courses of medication.
Oodles of prismatic capsules became my main comestibles. With each attempt of a new pill came a renewed anticipation, which, in the end, were all brutally shattered by the persistence and intensification of aches and burns. Months went by; half a year went by. My goblin, that hellish motherfucker, was still nonchalantly squatting my belly, maiming my vocal cords, feasting on my viscus. Soon, the entirety of my gastrointestinal tract’s functions: chewing, swallowing, absorbing, secreting, were brazenly dispossessed by one single action-vomiting" -incessant, compulsive, sepulchral spews of xeno-dictions. In a quasi-regressive manner, peristalsis movements were fully superseded by anti-peristalsis2. For the subsistence of my gastric fiend, substances in the digestive tract need to be unceasingly forced upwards and out.
After exhausting all medical attempts, I dragged the goblin to a gastroscopy. "Finally, a front-seat view of a much-anticipated cannibalistic show". With a live camera inserted right into the gremlin's den, I doubt there would be any fissure for it to conceal. My spirit was exceptionally high on the day of the procedure. The trip to the hospital was elusive and oneiric; everything on the way seemed eerily odd, incongruous, distant, yet blindingly glistening and dazzlingly bright. Outside the endoscopy room, the medic suggested getting a dose of sedate or anaesthetics to mitigate the discomfort during the procedure, which I readily declined. No, for today's little rendezvous, I need to be belligerently sober.
A type of cirrocumulus cloud, in Latin means 'full of hollows'.↩
Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions and Nursing, S.v. 'antiperistalsis,' retrieved April 14, 2021, https://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/antiperistalsis.↩