A note on the recent hiatus & this week's issue:
To those few early followers of this little project, thank you for visiting and apologies for my recent radio silence. A wonderful thing happened recently which prevented me from posting the last issue. And what was that wonderful thing you might ask? Well, I'm deviating a bit from the established format here in order to publish a more personal piece in celebration of the birth of my son…
Hugo Keegan Heleine
This is the last will and testament of a man in his mid-thirties who was born mere minutes ago. Or maybe hours ago or days ago, but definitely not weeks ago. He’s not quite sure of the precise moment, but his life is irreversibly reanimated by the most mundane and spectacular proceedings of his old new life.
In any case, this man’s worldly possessions will be left in their entirety to the one who did the work of loving him.
After all, this man once believed –– because he was once told so by his older cousin whilst pissing off a stone in a wooded ravine in Clark County, Middle-West –– that he had to pee inside a girl to make a baby. This man also once believed that food filled you up, little by little, meal by meal, over the course of an entire lifetime, beginning with your toes then lumping northward through the cavern behind the shins, seeping up through the little cracks in the knees, traversing the thighs and groin, roiling its way through the belly, piling into the chest cavity, bubbling into the neck, and finally crusting itself behind the thing we call a face and into the thing we call a mind. Because this man had trouble shitting and didn’t connect the dots, he believed that you died when the food filled you up. And he thought maybe that fat people died sooner because the food filled them up faster. This man also once believed that “cosh” was something you threw into the wind and spent many years tumbling around with the simplest of questions: what is cosh? This man also once believed that it felt good to give himself a wedgie and that the butter went inside the grilled cheese sandwich, mayo on the outside.
Any man who believes such things must be extraordinarily difficult to love, and so the man would like to emphasize the fact that all of the man’s worldly possessions will be left in their entirety to the one who did the work of loving him.
This man’s memories will be left, in their fragmented and fractured orb, to all who have learned to read and who are simultaneously interested in portals.
Portals exist in all kinds of places and are always invisible until passed through. If you encounter what you think might be a portal, proceed with caution, for it cannot be an actual portal. You might have found a passageway that leads to a portal, but portals cannot be seen from the front, only the rear –– or depending on how you conceptualize time, perhaps it’s the front that you’re seeing them from when looking back at them. What matters is that you can only recognize portals once you’ve passed through them.
Given their profound elusivity (yes, the man knows that elusivity is not quite a real word but please allow him this small pleasure), portals can only be understood by describing their edges. Know this then: the edges of portals are defined by the memories you collect as you pass through them.
For example, this man remembers cleaning shit from his wife’s ankle and feeling that she had never been more beautiful than this and knowing instantly that his life had just begun. He remembers her eyes rolling into oblivion. Her infinite power. He remembers being dizzy with fear for seven minutes, give or take. Remembers the bright red rectangle. Her, smiling behind the paper. Infinite spirit. Remembers peeking up and over the paper then counting to five, clumsily, before the boy cried. This man remembers her shaking. The smell. The bad light. The good smell. God, the good smell. This man remembers sitting alone in a rocking chair and holding his newborn son against his bare chest. Remembers counting each and every minute while his wife was in recovery. Remembers the kindnesses of the new faces in that place, the night shifters, the care givers, the people who love strangers daily. This man remembers the moment when he lifted his son and placed him on the chest of his wife, now calm, no longer shaking, crying softly. This man remembers.
These are just a few of the edges of a single portal. This man did the work of living for twelve thousand, eight hundred and ninety-one days before his life started. And she likely did more work in one night than he had done in all those days, months, years. These are precisely two of the things he realized after passing through the portal. There are many other things realized and many other edges to describe, but he is much too busy living on this side of the portal to recount them all for you here now. And still, this man’s memories will be left to all who have learned to read and who are simultaneously interested in portals.
This man’s love will be left in its entirety to his firstborn son and to any others he might yet meet on the other side of portals of this kind. He does not need to leave any love for his wife because he doesn’t have any that isn’t already hers, and hers his.
This man is excited beyond belief to discover other kinds of portals.
This issue is dedicated to my invincible wife, Dearbhla Keegan.
Now They Hear Nothing is a photofiction serial created by Nathan Heleine, a writer & artist from Normal, Illinois who currently calls Brooklyn home. New issues will be published weekly, give or take. The characters represented in this issue are real. The characters represented in other issues are fictional.
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