Dr. Susan Campbell is a professor of cultural studies at Duke. She spends her days trying to teach people about each other so that they might, hopefully, learn to live together civilly.
Last night, she watched war coverage until her eyes watered and turned red, and then she got drunk and screamed at God. Screamed at Him to make us all understand, to let everyone know all that He knew, if that’s what it would take to end the killing. And God said, I will give you my knowledge.
She’s waking up now, and she knows how the universe was made. She knows exactly how many blades of grass are in her yard and their sizes and shapes and what they taste like to deer (there are 36 deer within five miles of her, 72 bright eyes, 72 fuzzy ears, another eight antlered skulls bleaching on the sun-pounded ground) and how Kentucky bluegrass processes nutrients and water and the species of each individual insect crawling among the grass and every dimple of the egg it emerged from and every scrap of crisp leaf and warm flesh it has eaten in its life and the chemical composition of every square inch of her house and what dying stars each of those chemicals came from and how slowly those stars erupted and how the ways their light reflected from asteroids and planets and moons changed as they aged and an exact catalogue of every life each one of them sustained. She rolls out of bed and wobbles to the bathroom. She maps the maze of pipes and drains attached to her toilet, hears the voice of the man who invented toilets, remembers every detail of his sex life. She feels like crap (which she knows the exact bacterial composition of—hers, yours, everyone’s), and she doesn’t know which sensations are from the hangover and which are from the knowledge.
She totters out into the living room and hears her TV, still blaring war coverage. She feels everything each victim feels as they die.
And God lets her forget.
Isaac Fox is a student at Lebanon Valley College, where he studies English and creative writing. He spends his free time reading and writing things that aren’t assigned, shooting pictures, and playing the clarinet. His work has previously appeared in Green Blotter and Rune Bear. You can find him on Twitter at @IsaacFo80415188.
Photo Credit: “Spinning…” by Jaime Pérez, Flickr.com.