Steve Smith and Quentin Paquette

Cellular, by Steve Smith
Inspiration Piece

Cellular, by Quentin Paquette
Response Piece

I remember clearly stepping out and seeing the two of them crossing the street and heading in. I remember the sense of what the temperature was. The colors as I remember them have a depth close to reality. I can feel the air in my lungs, the gases exchange, the distribution. For the length of the memory, I inhabit my whole self. We pass on the walkway, I step off into the grass to let them by, hand in hand. They’re almost past when she looks over to catch my eye and stop, pulling him up short.
”I really liked that piece of yours at the reading.”
I don’t even know what I said in response, it might be merciful that I’ve forgotten. The rest of the image continues only as ideas and the sensation dissolves. I go back and relive it again.
Always the brief sudden exchanges between us. I never anticipate them, and they’re never about much. The parts of me that I’ve been taught to think of being organized into my important self hasn’t got anything to say about it. There are no words for it, and words are the only way that part of me gets its point across. Maybe I limit myself too much by the lines I draw.
There is something more expansive that I can’t quite fit into words. It speaks in things much smaller than letters, that spell out ideas bigger than books. Hair and nails grow a little faster. Nerves express more receptors for fine touch. Marrow spits out more erythrocytes. Gametes spill from the revolving meiotic doors. Peptides bloom and emit and crowd receptors. Energies marshal, pathways open channels.
All these things would let me know what they individually know, would bring to consciousness what they recognized. Something deeper, more pervasive, more elemental than the things I attend to with the self that I’m aware of. The systems I knowingly appreciate have their own plans, march along on their own orders, ignoring any contradictions, often at the expense of my greater good.
Still, the parts know, and they persevere, and they prepare in case something momentous happens to take me by surprise, to upset the balance, to shatter the mirror and let me see through the frame.
The next time we meet, or perhaps the time after that.

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