A story about a hog and I, but first a prelude from Jules Renard’s Natural Histories:
As soon as we let him into the pasture, the hog begins eating, and his snout never leaves the ground. He doesn’t seek out the best grass. He attacks whatever comes first and pushes his indefatigable nose in front of him like a ploughshare or a blind mole. The only thing that concerns him is to fill out a belly that already looks like a salting-tub, and he never bothers about the weather. What does it matter if his bristles almost catch fire in the noonday sun, or if a heavy hail-swollen cloud is spreading over the pasture now, about to burst? The magpie, of course, escapes, with her bursts of automatic flight; the turkey-hens hide in the hedge, and the boyish colt takes shelter under an oak.
But the hog stays where eats.
He doesn’t miss a mouthful.
He doesn’t move even his tail.
Riddled with hailstones, he barely has time to grunt:
“More of their damn pearls.”
Le cochon follows me after my cousin’s wedding reception. This reception doesn’t follow after a ceremony and somehow my distant cousin invites my high school Spanish teacher, Mrs. Hadley.
My mother interrupts the reception’s intent, which is actually unclear, and proclaims in front of the guests that I should receive more tutoring from Mrs. Hadley. It was a humorous jab and I felt no shame. Unsure of her whereabouts, I asked loudly, “When are you available, Mrs. Hadley?” Gales of laughter from the sea of guests, which I adore, however I begin to nervously wonder if my mom and I are detracting from the ambiguous wedding reception’s darlings?
The answer was left unknown.
I curiously leave the party and follow Mrs. Hadley to her house residing in shadowy woods with Bavarian hints to prepare for the SAT’s. She gives me crossword puzzles, but really dynamic ones in which the answers could teach me everything necessary for scoring well on the test. And then, as I’m taking the puzzles away from her home, Le Cochon appears like a spirit would, with little splash and strong familiarity. And thus, began its discipleship. It was in hot pursuit of me.
And, I should denote that its gender remained unclear. I suppose this is natural since like a spirit, a hog bears little resemblance to either male or female. Well, until you flip it over, which is very, very hard to do.
A hog befriends me and I embark a brief excursion that destines me to a concrete bathroom.
A concrete, slightly subterranean, sun-lit bathroom.
As we make our way to the bathroom, we wade through various women and the hog occasionally gets stuck. Its large body isn’t bendy enough for the places I was weaving in and out of. Numerous times I had to SAT this hog out of its physical conundrums and I did, without much thought or question.
Then we find the isolated bathroom. I am let loose and enjoy the cool breeze and momentary seclusion. I sit on a toilet that bears no stall and I have a moment of sensing and inhaling my womenness, my sensuality, my eros. It’s an elemental scene in which my most basic, purest expression is juxtaposed against the gray cemented barrenness. Not in the dark, not in absolute privacy.
I eventually return to stark reality and wonder if someone will come in and see me in my cumulus cloud of Aphrodite. Thus, the pig and I move to an actual stall and I notice this toilet seat wears revolving plastic. This stall is attempting progress in its bare, content home. Despite my dis-ease with the plastic, I had to pee, however the pig lifts its cute behind upon the toilet seat and commences urinary release before I could do anything. It is a she and her pee doesn’t quite make it in. The plastic, wrinkled sheath isn’t much help and so, as the story goes, pee goes everywhere. But I’m not upset or grossed out or annoyed. I look at her with endearment and pride. She is not embarrassed. Nor am I.
She wanted to be mature, human and progressed. All the while the scene was under-developed, primal, and messy.
She was not embarrassed. Nor was I.
The pee symbolized what I am and am not. I’m not one to take Scholastic Aptitude Tests or venture over to my old teacher’s house for study help. I’m not one to locate desire during my mother’s superfluous and anxious requests. I’m not one to quickly find my footing, though I’m one to be open to meandering.
I’m one to wander alone. I’m one to dismiss the pig. I’m one who is ashamed of my immaturity, bad etiquette, and unbeknownst naiveté.
I’m one to feel madly protective over the misfits and underdogs. I’m one who has had Eros confused and detached and yet he continues to follow me to lighter and lighter places. I’m one to hate plastic, revolving covers on toilet seats. I’m one to lay a few squares of toilet paper instead. I’m one to feel stuck and stuck and stuck.
I’m one to travel deeper even if it means more light, which it usually does.
I’m not one who can travel any deeper or farther than the light’s farthest ray otherwise I’m one who is prone to weariness, going astray and being stricken with fear.
This strange maze of wedding receptions, mothers, teachers, testing, bristly creatures, women, arousal and messiness is me, is my struggle, is my disowned places as well as my growing mind and heart for all of it, all of me.
I’m not meant to be alone, but I have to personally divert from the path set by someone else and visit those empty bathrooms with a lone hog whereby I inhale what has been easily pushed to the fringes. Inhale and then wonder what is next.
Me and the hog. Me loving this hog. Me feeling sweet affection for a hog. What a strange world we live in.