When I was a kid I used to do this thing in the shower -- no, not that thing -- but this thing where I'd get lathered up enough that I could make a giant bubble-type structure, a bubble wall with my whole upper body. The trick was to get continuously soapy from the fingertips of one hand, all the way down the arm, down the side and across the chest, then up the side to the other arm, to the fingertips of that other arm. With enough soap glomped on, I could put the palms of my hands flat against my chest, fingertips touching, and then slowly bend just the fingertips outward, making a sort of a triangle, with the sheen of a solid soap bubble filling the space. If the lather was a thick enough, I could slowly tilt my whole hand out like that, then slide my arms forward alongside my ribs, making the bubble bigger and bigger. It was very important not to let my arms move away from my sides, and in any event the bubble would always fail and break a few times. But eventually I'd get one stretching ever bigger until my arms were almost fully extended from my body, elbows slightly cantilevered outward, middle fingertips just touching.

My recollection of my childhood experience was an impression of being inside the bubble itself, or trying as hard as possible to imagine being inside the bubble looking out, lifting it high enough and making it last long enough to create such an illusion. When I recently accidentally rediscovered my ability to do this, my thoughts were directed much more towards the oddity of the bubble itself being a flowing liquid. A thin filament of continuous surface tension, and so a microcosm for the very fragility of existence itself. And so now, when I shower, sometimes I will make the bubble as I did as a child -- though it is slightly more difficult with my arms having grown long and my chest grown furry -- but now I approach it almost as if it were a religious ritual, and I the adherent of the calmly transitory Universe represented by this translucent shimmer.



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