Sassy Jane is going on holiday for a few weeks.
The Genesis of Souls
The people in our past, our ancestors, their ancestors, the people who nursed them, taught them, baptized them,
punched them, kicked them, shot them dead,
loaned them money, stole their money, helped with the planting and harvest,
marched in the picket line, shared a foxhole, borrowed an egg and a cup of sugar,
made passes at their spouses and help to paint their houses, have two things in common.
They were all human. They are all dead.
The way that all these lives intersected left two people with cold scars, wings made of paper straws and rose petals, and a useful callous in the middle of the chest.
That pair nurtured a pack of wolf-pups. I was born into and raised by that pack.
The joy and lust and love and anger, of uncounted generations, the bone breaks, the thefts, the killings, the kind words, secret gifts, day-old bread and accidents of excruciating tenderness are part of me.
They are as much a part of who I am as my flat feet and bald head and odd fingernails. They will not show up in a blood test but they are deep in the bones of me. Like the minerals in my frame, they will go on after I’m gone.
(Translation from a clay tablet.) Three thousand four hundred and twenty-two years ago, a woman in Ur gave a beggar a bit of bread. Later that day, she slapped her crying child. The beggar was put to work, carrying baskets of filth until he dropped over dead. Barley grew from the ground enriched by the filth. The child threw stones at a half-wild dog. . . (The clay tablet is broken off here.)
I pick up the tale several trillion chapters later: . . .and a man in a homburg hat smoked a cigar, his sons were dressed in their best clothes. . .
You and I are the rest of the story. I wrote the words you are reading. The words were in my bones, now they are in your bones. too late, they’re in there, no getting them out.