The steel matrix that bore me engendered many before me, and yet I do believe I have a story to tell. I was born on a Thursday, round 5 p.m.
A fascinated toddler had been gazing at me, his little fingers fiercely clinching the edge of the sink, as if standing on the tip of his toes was not offering enough support to witness my birth in full comfort. I was guessing of course, imagining the stretched little feet, painfully resting on the hard kitchen tiled floor, and I could see these eight fingers pressing onto the edge of the ceramic sink, each nail showing concentric crescents of different tones of pink.
My existence itself cannot be said to have commenced at any precise moment, to be honest. I guess I existed before this fatal Thursday, but I was more a potentiality then, part of a larger entity that defies the imagination, an insignificant group of molecules, that could be granted a life of its own, or not. However, in the moments that preceded my birth, the potentiality became an eventuality, then a possibility, and then an overwhelming conscience of a special destiny, I knew I was to be. This larger being I barely contributed to by my molecular presence was beginning to shatter, to, how do I put it, differentiate. Some air bubbles were passing by, stressed out, squeezed and deformed by the uncontrollable surrounding pressure, I was getting more and more aware that I was acquire a shape. A shape of my own, a size, a volume, an individuality, at last! Now that it was ineluctable, I realized that I wanted it as much as I feared it. The excitement of being on my own came with a string of worries, what if it was painful, what if it did not make any difference, what if all this was just a dream, what was life like, what was life really about? I guess the awareness of that little being looking was what kept me going. I was expected, I had a spectator, somebody depended on my life, and that was a wonderful feeling, making it worth it. The cold chromium steel piping was dead, it was just a prop I was going to use to shape myself. I was in charge and determined to get on with it, in style if I could help it.
I was now more and more aware of that gentle but firm push on what I will now call my back. Also, I was starting to feel the presence of air nearby, in quantities I could not remember experiencing before, although I know I must have. But that was in a previous life, a long forgotten ephemeral existence that bore no witness, that could not qualify to the same name of life I was about to enter. Indeed, without the hazelnut gaze fixated on the steel cervix, would my life be a life at all? If no one knows you exist, do you really exist? I had to provide for an entertaining moment, to retain my spectator's attention, make his wait worth the while, give him in return for his patience a decent, no, an exceptional show.
From a concave meniscus, my fellow drops would say I was a slender size 4 then, I had to let go of my belly muscles, and I got rounder. The flat stomach did not last long, I soon was a generous size 8, fully dilated as they say, ready to "pop". I am not sure, but I think the little boy winked at me at that moment, as if to encourage me to push. His head tilted ever so slightly to the side, and the lines that appeared on his forehead were proof that he was focusing more than ever on my birth. The humming of the fridge was clearly perceptible, and the vibration it transmitted to the kitchen counter top was affecting me.
I was trembling, tiny ripples appeared on my stomach. The frown on the boy's face was obviously him worrying about me, was I OK? I was, but at the same time I was thinking about all my sisters, pressing in the duct behind me, unaware of what the real trauma it is to go through birth. The oxidizing environment was a hostile one, loaded with particles and chemicals, vicious parasitic entities ready to soil my body and turn me into a toxic monster. But then I guess that is life, some things you decide, some things are imposed onto you...
The next moment, I felt I was heavily hanging, it was about to be make space for my successor. I gave her a long kiss good bye, but my attention was no longer on her. My life, oh I love that word, life, my life was elsewhere now, I was moving on. The upper lip of my young admirer was now resting on the white ceramic edge, surrounded by the four inverted commas of his little finger tips on either side. It looked like he was holding his breath, fully conscious of the drama that was about to unfold in front of him. I could not disappoint him, I had to perform the show of a lifetime, and there was no second take! The little fingers were moving up and down, as if tapping the tempo for my dive. I had no idea of how to do a somersault, and I couldn't remember -you people have to stop with that preposterous "water memory"concept- having ever performed one in the falls of my one of my previous lives. Anyway, my mind was made up, it was going to be a clean, lean, elegant dive, no frills, no show-off acrobatics, just plain, classy and aesthetic.
To my surprise, the sunshine had decided to dress me in a diffraction robe, where the indigo would harmoniously turn into a faint red after going through a classic rainbow palette. The shiny steel pipe could not compete, particularly with those scale traces dulling its mouth. My little friend was obviously happy with my colorful appearance, his eyebrows raising, the eyes widening and suddenly the tilting went from left to right and back. He wanted to catch all the nuances of my robe, I was beautiful and someone knew it!
Now, whoever has never been a water drop emerging from a tap -yes, I know, it doesn't sound so glamorous but let's face it, that's what I was after all- cannot comprehend the emotions that accompany this coming of age moment, the renouncement to the diadem of Miss Meniscus, in exchange with the thrill of free fall. I had lost my stage fright by then, and the last molecules at the very top of me were no longer touching my successor. I knew I was being observed, but I looked down anyway, facing my fate with courage and determination, and what I saw moved me beyond the wildest expectations.
All focused on myself, I had selfishly ignored anything that was not my life. And yet, a few moments ago, I was not anyone, anything, anywhere, or anytime in particular. Before this very account of events started, that toddler was already there, but me ? It's not even like I was not there. I just was not, that's all. So what was there, and why did it take until this moment for me to ask myself? Well the answer was right under me now, and I felt a mixture of excitement, resignation and blissful contentment. Before me, another droplet had been born, had separated from the mass, and like me, leaked out of this kitchen tap, and smashed the dirty white ceramic below. Now don't feel sorry, because as the moment of impact approached, the awareness of a sense of purpose emerged, grew, and overwhelmed me: I was going to be a mother !
Like many before me, I would hit the sink, and split into many, I wonder how many, baby droplets that would scatter happily away from the point of impact. Some of them would bounce, for a shared moment of this free fall that would have been my life, and once they'd rejoined their siblings, they would run carefree towards the dark opening I could perceive slightly to my left. Some would linger, waiting for others, creating with partners a new being, heavy enough to be driven. Other would stay single, and eventually roll away to their fate, others still would evaporate and go to the heaven of drops. It all dawned on me so clearly now, and even though I knew I would not be able to witness it, I already had the conscience of it all, so it did not matter. Through them, I would live on and this gracious jump would have been worth it.
The boy must have stretched even higher on his toes, for I could see his chin resting on the edge now. I still had a mission to fulfill, make his wait worth it too! Then came the apotheosis, the unexpected twist of fate that crowned my career, and sweetened my last few milliseconds: darting from the right side of his face, a finger sprang and positioned itself slightly sideways right underneath me. I realized he wanted to catch me on the fat of his finger, the softest possible landing pad for a friend he had known and accompanied all her life after all. That caring little being, so sweet and concerned! I stopped watching, as I wanted to be fully concentrating on my other senses: he was going to lick his finger, and I was about to become part of him, at least through my progeny. Total darkness and total bliss at the same time !