She moved him from the chair to the seat. They waited. He wondered once again whether the longer wait each time was symptomatic of his shame or of his continuing degeneration.
Eventually he voided himself. She cleaned him with a precision and professionalism that seemed all the more tender for it. He loved her most at this most shameful moment. He wondered again if love, whatever it was, had an energy. As always, he discarded the question. Too many disciplines involved; he would have to answer smaller questions first, and he wanted to answer larger questions in his own field. This woman brought him so far afield!
She put him back on his chair, and slowly pivoted him, turning him back towards the basin. It was time to look.
He activated the pre-set phrase with his cheek. “Everybody looks.”
“Everybody looks,” she replied. It was their catechism, to acknowledge both the strangeness and the normalcy of the moment. Again, love and shame flooded his limp body.
This time it was a number of dark pellets. His diet didn’t vary much anymore, so he wondered that his stool would. They looked like planets. No, like a model for elementary particles. When she flushed he thought of gravity, of black holes.
“It looks…” he started, but then stopped activating his speaking device. It was strange enough this standing over the toilet bowl together, there was no call for more talk.
“What was that?”
“Never mind.” He activated another ready phrase. “Let’s go.”
As she got behind him to pivot his chair once more, he saw something come rising back to the surface of the settling water. He activated his cheek.
She looked at the remaining pellet. “Oh I’m so sorry!” she said, and flushed once again.
So many things went through his head. He was drawing out the intimate shame of this part of the day, and she was the one apologizing. He’d just realized something important, something that might revolutionize his field, and all he wanted to do was confess his love, while they hovered over a toilet.
Words raced through his head, and his inner cheek trembled, but he said nothing. She wheeled him away, back to his study, just as always, though everything was different. He would confess his love. Though his body was all gravity, it radiated love. It was a different universe. Something, at least something could escape a black hole.