Pretend that I'm writing to you from the comet. Just pretend. That cosmic celebrity of the hour that has achieved, of late, a fame known only to the Halley's and Hale-Bopps, inducted into the Comet Hall of Fame, sure to be immortalized soon enough in Lego, in tattoo, in ditty. As for the details—how this missive got from here to you, how I got here, let's not get bogged down in them. Questions, no doubt, have their place, their moment, but comets are fleeting, notoriously so, and this one ain't slowing down for us to have a leisurely catching up.
What you want to know is what it's like to stand here, to be hurtling at thirty some-odd thousand miles an hour through space. Does it feel like hurtling? Like a thousand tilt-a-whirls? Is it like one of those itty-bitty planets in Le Petit Prince, where you could stroll the entire surface in a matter of minutes, practically reach around and pinch your own nose, as you might try with the trunk of some old sequoia? Is it basically Moon Redux? Is it like any of the beaches you've known? Will it take you back to Normandy after you'd just mauled a crepe on the bus and were regretting its residue of pleasure as you looked out on that stark, ghost-sobered strand? Or maybe more like some formation outside Moab where you'd run to piss and were the only stream for what you would've then said was many miles? Or, is it so unprecedented that you'd be forced to fabricate new words, a lingua of comet, to begin to compass what it feels like simply to stand here?
What if I said—all of these things are so? What if I said that everything I've ever said and felt and done and been was arrayed here, that it was as though they'd taken all of someone's memories (mine?) and compacted them into a tiny, space-shellacked mass, this thing that looks like a broken-nosed linebacker, like things slammed together, an object which, by comparison, would've led Galileo to see the moon as an utterly perfect sphere?
Or what if I said none of these is right?
Either way, I am here, and we are moving, and for now the ship is hibernating, but I gather that we are inching, slowly and steadily, toward the sun, and we might siphon off enough of its glare, if we're lucky, to startle it awake.
I'll write again, in other words, when I can.
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