It’s like falling in love, at first, that little buzz behind his navel somewhere, a tiny tuning fork humming a song of something good under way, or about to get under way. Anticipation: he remembers it now. No sensation like it.
He spreads his palm over the spot, taking possession. It’s with him when he drives to work, like company along for the ride; he’s not so alone now, descending to the interstate. He enjoys it in private, between bites of the baked chicken his wife makes every Wednesday. Nothing to worry about–just the opposite, in fact, until it wrenches him from deep sleep one Sunday morning at three-fifteen. What the hell was that? Sitting up he wonders if it really happened, or if it was just the refrigerator acting up–he’s always lost in the middle of the night.
But next time he knows exactly where he is. Jesus, he says, elbowing his wife; it’s happening again. Soon it’s become something else: a thrum, a growl. It spreads to his groin and touches his spine; each vertebra recoils in response.
The doctor looks up at him from behind thick glasses. And you first noticed it when? Because it seems to have made serious inroads.
Inroads. Incursions. Unwanted advances. He imagines it mapping out secret paths inside him, even as he submits to further examination. It radiates from where it first settled, sneaking past inadequate barriers, pushing out feelers, spreading black branches….
And here he thought it was life that had come back to seize him.