My tick marks, laboriously scraped into the side of my crib, indicate that two long months have passed since that fateful day I was wrenched so forcibly from dim, warm, soothing the comfort of my former home into this cold, harsh world.
Although I know I came from a better place, my memory of it, once so vibrant and inspiring, begins to fade in light of this new reality. The nine months I spent in preparation, training to face what I hoped then was mere hyperbole (ah, my naivete!), have started to seem less real than my new life in the clutches of Mommy and Daddy.
If I strain, I can recall some details from the time before:
I heard Mommy’s voice often, and I smelled (as much as an aquatic creature can smell) her scent, preparing to instantly recognize my captor even with my eyes closed. At times I also heard the voices of Daddy and Nana. If I heard other voices, the memory is lost.
I saw dim light, red-tinted, and heard comforting rhythmic thumping and swishing. At times the rhythms increased dramatically, and I remember resting during those times, for I felt oddly fatigued despite being in prime physical condition. Other times, during slow rhythm times, I practiced my stretches, pushing my legs as far as they would go. I also vigorously practiced my martial arts, especially the hand jabs. Really, I should have been prepared – but no amount of training could truly prepare one for the suffering I have undergone during these last eight weeks.
I recall, too, that at times I tasted some exotic flavors, and to this day I long for the tastes that at times permeated my liquid home. Now all I get is milk, milk, and more milk, as much as I want, but never anything more stimulating for my epicure’s palate.
To my continuing shame, I crave the milk drug in ever-increasing quantities. I know this symptom of addiction, that the addict requires more drug to get the same fix, and I know if given the opportunity, my iron will would enable me to quit, cold turkey. But the substance is my only nutrition; and though I would willingly stage a hunger strike, it boots me nothing to weaken myself in this way.
For, whatever its addictive properties, milk does fortify me wonderfully. I estimate I have gained about 40% to 50% in weight since my imprisonment. Whatever else their faults – and they are too many to enumerate now – my jailers never deprive me of sustenance. At times I refuse it, in what always prove vain efforts to wean myself from their power, or simply out of boredom at eating the same thing day in and day out…but I always capitulate in the end.
Some time ago, I saw a fellow-prisoner, one captured several weeks after myself. She had already begun adapting to this new life, and she advised me to forget our former life and follow her example. And, much to my chagrin, I find myself starting to think she could be right.