A couple years ago, Francisco and I went to see “Bodies: The Exhibition.”
Have you seen it?
This isn’t an “Oh, I’m not sure” kind of question. You either know the answer is “yes” or that it’s “no”– the exhibit is that memorable.
At the beginning of the exhibit, you see real human bodies stripped down to their arteries, veins, and muscles through a technology I won’t pretend to really understand. You see cross-sections of the body and descriptions of how these illuminate our understanding of the body’s crazy array of normal functions.
And then, towards the end of the exhibit, you enter the freakshow room– the one where strange ailments that no one wants to talk about and the effects they visit upon the body are on display: teeth and hair that grow in strange places (like women’s vaginas–no kidding). The way a smoker’s lung looks versus the lung of a non-smoker. Etc.
Just beyond that room–in a sort of reverse chronology of human development–there’s the babies. The ones born (or not) conjoined, missing organs, and finally, a plexiglass case featuring a series of fetuses at various stages of development. Less than a month and you can clearly distinguish that that little mass is going to develop into a full-fledged human being. Seeing that took every argument about pro-life/anti-abortion out of the abstract and fully into the realm of in-your-face reality… but that’s a subject for another post.
What I’m saying is: it stayed with me, those fetuses, those babies, spiraling out from its tight little nautilus position. Last night, I dreamt of them. In the dream, I wished my belly was transparent so I could see the baby forming, day by day, week by week. When I woke up, I realized I’d curled my frame so it fit perfectly into Francisco’s back, my chin nestled into its place on his shoulder.