Gasping for Air in a Sea of Blood

We don’t really remember our births. It’s probably a good thing, because they’re both traumatic and, should we remember them, a bit disgusting. Of course, that’s a purely perspective-based observation. Were the memory of birth to be a common thing, then it wouldn’t be nearly as distasteful. But, that’s consideration for another day. However, I do know a few particulars about my birth. Not because I remember directly, but because I was told later. It was my first brush with death. Though we’d pass each other many times in the corridors, it was the closest, I think, we ever came to meeting properly. 

My mother, you see, was born with, or developed, a physical defect that prevented a natural birth from taking place. There was no indication of this, though, and so things were expected to proceed normally. They did not, however, and, though she pushed, I could find no freedom. So it went, for hours, until they were inducing contractions just to keep the blood in my mother’s body. I don’t remember the exact total of hours, but it was a long time… longer than one would wish. Eventually, they performed a caesarean section and pulled me from the wreckage of my poor mother’s tortured body. For a while, they were wondering which one of us they could save. Then, as the hours had passed, they’d wondered if they’d be able to save either of us. As it turned out, white as sheets and lacking both rest and blood, save the fine coating I wore, we both survived. Although survival is a brief thing and one of us would, eventually, fall into their grave (I won’t give you any hints on who it was) and the other would offer a few solemn promises. 

That was the first rather tumultuous day of my life. I don’t understand the specifics of it all. I don’t know what the source of the bleeding was or why we lived. I will find out one day, but such research must wait, as I know it’s there whenever I require it. I know that the operation that saved my life was rather new in that hospital. I’m thankful, though, as science had saved my life, not for the last time. You can utter your prayers and preach your spirituality all you like. It keeps you calm and offers you something, but when it comes down to it, I’ll always lean on research and testing when it comes to something we can’t afford to fuck up. 

As I drew my first breaths, after medical science had pulled my ass out of the river, I had no idea of how many times the same would be true. I was in and out of the hospital a lot between tonsil infections (they’re gone now) and injuries (I play rough when I do). One thing that always fascinated me was blood. After the time I figured out we were more than just pinkish golems, I became increasingly intrigued by our workings. Blood filled us up, maintained us, infected, spurned, deflected and burned us. It’s an amazing substance and no more elegant than the machine it inhabits. Just think, right now, about the rivers of the stuff coursing rapidly through your body, driven by that enigmatically powerful muscle, the heart. As it quickens when we’re riled, and cools as we’re revolted, with fear lying experientially somewhere in between. Eventually I would move on to other obsessions, but I never quite forgot my brief love-affair with the substance. Even now, my walls are adorned with splatter paintings reminiscent of a horrendous police report. 

Even in video games, I find it a particularly enthralling concept. Its very presence sets the teeth on edge and our brains on fire with anticipation of the necessity of fighting for survival. Because, that’s part of what it is, our being, our lives. We’d get nowhere without it. Silent Hill, in particular, was quite inspiring. Nowhere are rust and blood juxtaposed so much. In many ways, the compositions of those two substances are similar, but their executions and their functions are more different than their meanings. Between decay and life, an organism’s very essence pumping onto the floor, its struggle for survival hastening its end, lies rust and blood. As we claw at existence, our bodies wear away. In the quest for life, we slowly kill ourselves. That’s life, though, living unto death, because that’s just the only option. The freedom, though, the beauty of blood, is in its flow. You can spill it all quickly, die gasping, let it trickle slowly out and eke by, or, like myself and my dear mother, thrash and spill and live, just barely, for a while. It’s not a dichotomy. You don’t have to live softly to live a long time, it may, in fact, impede your survival. Nor will throwing yourself to the wolves necessitate your end, but you will need time to recuperate. Don’t get me started on direction, either. Blood pulsing through veins, which, in every body, are largely similar constructs, but woven with personality in bodies of separate size and dimension, affected by and affecting the organism it inhabits, like a mind, like an understanding, like a life. 

So, that’s blood for you, but we’re not done with it, not by a long shot. I just bought the new Silent HIll game, Downpour, for the 360. I consider myself something of a fan-boy, so I’m sure to bring it up again. Cheers!  

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