The word was on the tip of my tongue. I could almost taste it. The vowels were vaguely salty with a hint of umami. Umami being a vowel’s favoured flavour. Because of all the vowels in it.

The word was poised to leap out of my mouth. I could feel the word coming loose from whatever papillae it had stepped in, taking its first foray out into the world at large. Announcing itself like an announcer who announces things during announcements.

Could have really used whatever this word was in that last sentence. Maybe it’s “thesaurus.”

Scant seconds before the word was released into the wild, it changed its mind. The word’s reasons for this u-turn are its own. I can’t pretend to speak for it. Walk a mile in a word’s shoes and then maybe I’d understand, or at least walk a mile in the word “shoes.” Either way, I could use a lot more exercise.

The word paused at the epiglottis, deciding which way it wanted to go, like that indecision that hits every one of us when on a road trip. Do we take the well-worn path, knowing there will be at least one Denny’s along the way, or the road less travelled, where there might be two Denny’s?

Unlike me trying to figure out what to have for lunch, the word’s hesitation was but a brief moment. It didn’t want a salad either.

Slipping past the salivary glands and into my esophagus, that elusive word slid its way ever further along the GI tract.

If you’ve ever had a word in your esophagus, then you know it sort of tickles. It’s like swallowing a feather. If you’ve ever had a feather in your esophagus, then you know it’s slightly uncomfortable. Like swallowing a sword. If you’ve ever had a sword in your esophagus, can you tell me how to do it? I’ve followed a lot of online videos, but I feel like step-by-step instructions will help guide me better.

The word’s journey was just beginning. Or was at least in the middle. Could be near the end. I didn’t get a peek at the word’s travel itinerary. Wherever in its trek the word was, eleven-nineteenths of the way through, it was now in my stomach. It met with a whole bunch of other words I’d swallowed. My conversations have been relying a lot on mime lately. Pulling on a rope is very versatile as a communicative device. Being stuck in a box can go to hell.

After having some fun splashing around in the gastric juices, building bacterial castles out of my microbiome, and eating some leftover pizza that hadn’t fully been broken down, the word continued on.

It was joined by the others. They had decided to caravan together. Travelling alone can be fun for a while, but eventually, everyone needs someone to point out every horse you see and to listen to you say funny store names out loud.

Linked up in a complicated alphanumeric buddy convoy, I now had a whole paragraph forging a path through my digestive system. Really just one long run-on sentence, as I hadn’t ingested any punctuation recently.

In my small intestine, the words argued over how to properly pronounce “jejunum.” Being cooped up together in a very long tube is sure to expose any frayed nerves. The words decided to split up, wanting to leave things as amicably as they could before their emotions got the better of them. Words can be very case sensitive.

Alone again, the word found itself in the liver. By this point, it was naturally wondering about what could have been. How the choices it made led up to this exact point and how things may have turned out differently had it gone another way. Perhaps through the windpipe.

The word also wondered what all of its exes were doing right now.

Barreling through the large intestine, the word was now in the rectum, the end of its impromptu expedition was nigh.

Having no nutrition whatsoever, just a bunch of empty calories, the word was thrust out whole into the world once again. I was wearing shorts and very slack boxer briefs, making its escape quite easy.

I saw it there. On the ground. It looked pretty unhappy about its current predicament. Where once it had been warm and surrounded by friends, now it was cold and alone and covered in gastric juices. It should have worn a jacket.

I left it there. I had no use for it anymore. I had long since mimed my way through the eulogy I had been in the middle of giving. It went over pretty well, thank you. You’d be surprised how moving “walking through a windstorm” can be.


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