Saturday, March 08, 2008

In search of a (secure) identity, hexapus welcomed

I wrote the piece below (but somewhat modified) for a creative writing course that I took in college. In this piece, I explored the mind of the stereotypical insecure, teenage girl, and I used the word “hexapus,” which probably only existed in the science fiction world, to illustrate my point about the main character. Now, years later, I read that British marine experts have recently found what seems to be the world's first "hexapus." It’s interesting to see something formally restricted to the mind now become available to the senses.

Her inflatable octopus seems excited to go swimming with her. Its skin is rubbery, and it wears a permanent, multicolored cap on its head. Its mouth is open in a half moon—-apparently laughing and unconcerned that the very place it wishes to go knows its weakness and can, at will, pull its plug or poke at it, rendering it lifeless, disfigured, and ashamed, in front of everyone.

She should have been ready an hour ago, but she could not decide which bathing suit to wear. She couldn’t find one that would hide her a little from the microscopic eyes of her mates. Really, any regular pair of eyes will do to see her, the middle school girl who looks like someone’s aunt. Her body betrays her; it sets her friends against her and makes them think that she is a thief, although she doesn’t know what she, apparently, constantly steals. She is like one who has made a pact with the devil, since people keep staring at her, as if they know her secret. Another set of people look at her, approving her, but only because they’ve also sold something. Her body refuses to hide, it silences her, and it speaks for her, but it’s a stranger to her. This body—-her reflection to the world—-lies about the purity of her soul. It lies. Alas, how will she fix looking like a ripe fruit when she’s only a seedling, especially before the condemning eyes of her peers, or before the hungry eyes that follow her, destroying her innocence, her childhood?

She looks at her octopus and wonders why it doesn’t feel like an impostor, since it has only six tentacles but openly claims to be an octopus. She instantly wishes that they could swap bodies, but then it would already be at the pool with a big smile on its face, while she would be working on explaining how she is a lineage behind octopuses, her name being hexapus.

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