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Bela and the Jellyfish, Part II

I finished painting “Jellyfish Lake” today. You can click here to see a bigger version. And you can see a preliminary version in my previous post. The painting is based on a photo of me in Jellyfish Lake in Micronesia.

Now I’ll go back to writing Mathematicians in Love. Not so coincidentally, I’m at the scene where Bela and Alma meet the divine jellyfish and get to make some wishes about which version of Earth they’ll return to. Here’s an excerpt, although it may later be revised.


Just then we felt a cold flow of water against our feet, an upwelling as something large moved towards the surface.

“Here she comes,” I said.

Without even slowing down, the big jellyfish moved into our space, engulfing us. And now Alma and I were inside a damp, echoing body cavity. I felt a force touching my mind, and the little space loomed as large as a cathedral. Its floor was as a glassy sea, and in the center stood an alabaster throne ringed by an emerald rainbow. A figure stepped from the throne and walked slowly towards us, a form like a four-armed Shiva with a woman's face. Each of her gestures was ideally formed and filled with meaning, each motion a great novel, a profound theorem, a cosmic work of art.

“Welcome Bela and Alma,” came her voice, sounding within my head. “You are as one flesh, one seeker. I bid you bow before me. I am your God.”

Gladly I knelt. Peace filled my heart. I thought to glance over at Alma; her face was suffused with joy. The jellyfish telepathy was hitting both of us. For an instant I flipped back to a not-so-pleasant vision of us squeezed into a sac in the body of a giant unearthly coelenterate, but then a tingle ran through my brain and I was again seeing the sacred figure, the holy dancer, the end of every quest.

She danced on, her limbs tracing slow, exquisite paths. Alma and I sat cross-legged, holding hands. Veils streamed from the goddess’s arms, the motion-trails weaving into a glowing cable that led away from the throne, across the sea, dwindling into the distance where a tiny planet Earth floated at the long cord’s end. I could see the ice-caps, the continents, the clouds.

“What do you seek, Bela?” asked the goddess. “I see many desires. Utter your heartfelt wish.”

I found myself unable to speak anything but the truth. “I wish I’d made love with Cammy at my mother’s house after the Washer Drop concert in San Jose,” I said. Alma dropped my hand like it had turned into a loathsome crab…

2 Responses to “Bela and the Jellyfish, Part II”

  1. Mac Says:

    Posthuman Blues Great job on the bubbles! I bet these paintings really enliven your house.

  2. Kevin Collier Says:

    My wife and I did a book called “Joy the Jellyfish” and her best friend in the book is named Bella, a beluga whale. Coincidence!
    – Kevin

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