Birthing a Time Gap

From the Cosmic Vagina Itself.

Just before the baby was born, the anxious father-to-be was having an existential crisis. Sometimes he would gaze anxiously at the clock amidst his wife’s wails, as if asking it to put a swift end to her misery. The next time he looked back at it, two hours had magically flashed by as if moved by his supplications.

And then the fears would start creeping in:

What if I miss his entire childhood in the same way I’ve just missed the last two hours before I become a father? If I’m already impatient with the clock, how could I ever spoon-feed an infant? Let alone change a diaper? Will sex ever be the same? He wondered…

And with each passing thought, cold sweat run down the sides of his temples, hands frigid, he would grip the sides of the icy hospital chair as if his sanity depended on it.

Finally, the baby was born at the stroke of midnight, December 31st 2019.

The nurses swooned, the busy surgeons postponed life-saving procedures to give a round of applause. At the hospital, he was deemed the miracle baby — the first few hours of his life buzzed with anticipation for the year ahead. The end of a decade and for some reason…people seemed to have a greater urgency to bury 2019 than they did to end 2009.

The year of fake news, trade wars, the eternal Brexit slug, right-wing gargoyles and viral Trump tweets. No wonder they were all ready to burn last year’s photo album and start afresh. And miracle babe was a beacon of hope for the heavy-eyed hospital staff.

The exhausted mother swayed her new-born, the former high on oxytocin and the latter drunk on breast-milk…the father stared into the white light illuminating the usually grim corridor. A blank look on his face, unable to keep up with the rate of creative destruction.

He swore that only a minute ago he was merely a boyfriend who had accidentally impregnated his one-night stand. Today, he was a new father watching his wife and newborn baby make history together as she popped the 7 pound miracle from between her legs at exactly the stroke of midnight. In between one year and the next, in between this decade and the last.

And emerging from her thigh gap — silence, of the kind that only happens after a gory battle at the colosseum, where the usually cheery audience is dumb-stuck by an early decapitation.

The clock on the otherwise bare hospital walls seemed to be playing tricks on him. Time halted to a full stop — slap in the middle of two different eras. Instead of the usual monotone tick-tick-ticking, no matter how hard he strained his ears he only found a chilling silence. In this silence, he was able to play out his son’s entire future.

They would take him home and introduce him to the family dog, Marcus Aurelius, who would watch over him at nights like a conqueror protecting his bounty. As miracle baby grew older, he would teach him how to play soccer in the backyard, and how to distinguish between a safe mushroom and a poisonous one. Later, they would go on family camping trips and stare at the star-studded sky, guessing what kind of life-forms were looking back at them from way up there. They would make bonfires, roast marshmallows, he would pantomime greek mythology and make shadow-art with the light of a lantern just before going to bed. He would take him to the Himalayas on his sixteenth birthday and they would dive into ice-cold glacier lakes. They would discover the world together and on each new decade they would celebrate life by climbing up a mountain and howling at the moon.

He was certain that a very small human had popped out of his wife…but he had a hunch that something else had arrived with it.

But what exactly had been pushed out of Time’s cosmic vagina?

A unique gap seemed to have been born — Where the entire world could unfold into outer-space, only to reabsorb itself back into a single particle. A chilling silence that would stop the clocks on everyone’s homes, postpone deadlines, and send us all to bed without supper. One thundering hushh with which humanity was given a time-out, so that something larger could take its turn on the playground. A pause where history could finally get off the merry-go-round — deciding instead to head north into the horizon.

Inspired by Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (1981).

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