That Time I Fell in Love with Gargantua (Is Always Now)

Rosebud Ben-Oni
November 21, 2017
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In a way, I learned to love my home better by saying goodbye to it… For so long I had alternated between hating and cherishing it; now, finally, I saw it more fully, if through mist and dream, through the quiet-booming gramarye of how past always brims over the edge of present. I left my home, yet couldn’t leave it.

—Gabrielle Bellot,
Jean Rhys Had to Leave her Home to Truly See It

 

Dear Gabby: When are we not writing about home even when we are not writing about home.

I’ve been thinking about the first time I fell deeply in love with a black hole named Gargantua. Which is not a real black hole, but based on what a black hole might look like. Because we have no real proof of what black holes look like exactly. Or even if they are are, these light-sucking, mass-sucking masses of massive collapsed, life-ended stars.

So imagine what it means to fall in love with such a hypothetical, which for me was the real star of the film Interstellar, although Gargantua (not! real! :: someone is reminding me) would actually be an eater of stars, a great devourer of celestial and earthly movie stars alike, the latter whom probably would not allow for a “Possibility of Black Hole Death” clause in their contracts.

While I, on the other hand, would be the first to sign up to be consumed by Gargantua, to whom I’m so strangely, hungrily attracted. Perhaps because of the varying degrees of all those ghostly-lit rings, or the cheeky tilt of its being. The ardent illumination giving shape to the darkness. Perhaps too because being consumed by this particular black hole, of which I have a very unhypothetical-ed hypothetical vested interest, would be the opposite of going to purgatory, or entering into earthbound death-orbit via the flesh.

Yes, I would like to be consumed by Gargantua, and would complete, in record time, whatever training NASA (or Anne Hathaway), would require of me.

Because I think it would be kind of like going home when one can’t return home.

The kind of writing that you and I do. The kind that brought us together. The double oo in sisterhood, in writerhood, like a double-Auryn from The Never Ending Story.

By the way. If you are concerned, I don’t think Gargantua would devour one just to turn her into nothingness. She (I) might lose her some (or most, okay all) of her mass, but I don’t know if humanity has a blessed idea of nothingness, nor immortality, nor its own ticking clock. I do know viruses are alien in nature. That we even can fall ill is alien in itself. What we couldn’t see for centuries: microscopic warfare. Viruses are not in our nature; they are taken in. Or, they storm into us. There, consorting in the shadows of our black hole bodies, suggesting that life itself, or rather what we think is living, is a hypothetical.

That we can go only so far as long as we remain human. Attached to our human-ness. And laws and limits. Think of what we’d be without speed limits or page limits or—

I mean, does the virus ask will there be dancing in full stars :: there will be full stars dancing

Uh oh. While I’ve been writing our little Gargantua (not! real!) dance-party here, somewhere, someone with a very, very tender heart is grinding his teeth and pinching his lip, and taking a red pen to the screen. Wondering in his echoless four-chambered heart: am I real(ly reading this)?

There. Fixed it for him.

Moving on. Before I go to Gargantua, though, I’d also like to be an unlawful vampire with you, blessed immortal. In “Finding Refuge in a Queer Vampire Novel,” you write that Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla didn’t save you, but it did make you “want more— and that desire, perhaps, did.”

When I like someone very much, I tell them to read you.

When I meet someone I wouldn’t mind taking the 7 Train with, I tell them to read you.

When I meet someone who tells me Gargantua is not real and what the hell anyway, with my would-be black hole romance, I tell them to read you.

Because for me you are that more, part of a greater force which can save humanity from its limitations. Because we are “all living stories, and no story can fully disappear,” as you wrote in “Jean Rhys Had to Leave her Home to Truly See It.” A little prayer I repeat to myself in the morning. That we write so we don’t disappear because of the human limits the human body demands of us.

But say, in/on/through Gargantua (not! real!),  you and I are texts that run off the page.

Right now you & I are running off the page (even when we don’t), you & I, leaving IOUs in wafts of wet ink across desk, subway seat, the back of a fly’s wings.

We won’t stay on the page in a perfect page-ly way because WHY for the love of WHY

& home is not where we should but should we, and the arguments being made via borders and world summit and surplus population rubberneckers are last year’s language. That we, if we must for now acknowledge the limits of the human body, at least attempt to evolve the human spirit simply by acknowledging it.

To read you, immortal beloved sister, is to acknowledge and believe in the future of human language, which is not where it stands today, but where it will be. That when I see both the best and the worst of people, I refer to them to your home page, to this page, a home in which I’ve made my own refuge when I just can’t with my fellow humankind.

“I left my home,” you write in “Jean Rhys Had to Leave her Home to Truly See It“, “and yet couldn’t leave it.” And to be honest, dear Gabby, I won’t ever be able to leave home either. The idea(s) of it have become the real of it because I have no one idea of what it looks like anymore. The longer I live, the more infinite it seems, and yet more distinct.

That home is not a place but a voyage to strange clarity.

In which you is always plural and always shared through a greater power.

Like knowing you would be the first to volunteer to be consumed by a black hole just to see what happens, and knowing you very well might not return as you are now, second-personing yourself and keeping your husband up (again) with the click-clacking on your keyboard, writing this letter to your beloved Gabby.

Is there a need (for me) to return to first person, when who wouldn’t go straight into the event horizon of their beloved black hole, and find some way to return to you, though not as (she was), but finding some way to tell you, Gabby, of what (she’d) seen, of what (she’d) become, send you a sign through the wind, through a match you’d strike to light the gas stove, a quick little bird released, to let you know not that everything is for a reason but that everything never stops growing, exponentially?

I return to first person here on the page that I call home, in the moment, thinking of Gargantua, the most beautiful and most real revolutionary and most unprovable origin. Because where others might see death and nothingness, I see beginning and transformation. Other-full, not Otherness.

Because I’m pretty sure of all the things I’d lose for better change by being consumed by Gargantua, one that would remain is the essence of you. Your words. The living story you are.

Because once one reads you, nothing can ever rob her or him of you.

Because of all things that must go and disappear in loving a black hole, you’d never disappear.

Yours in never-ending-stories sisterhood,

Rosebud

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