Transplanted Life
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Morning Email
Nat and I have been emailing each other off and on for the last month. It's kind of strange, because we really don't have much to talk about. She's nice, and it's really cool that she wants anything to do with me even though she really could simplify her life by just putting this whole bizarre situation in the rear-view mirror. It's possible that she just wants to be in the loop on the whole who-and-where-is-Martin/Andrei thing, although plain curiosity is a good enough reason if you ask me.

This morning, though, her email had scans of her last ultrasound attached. It's astounding to look at; she's in the middle of the second trimester, so the pictures show something that is more than just vaguely baby-shaped, but it's hard to get a sense of scale, of just how tiny this little guy is. Especially since Nat really wasn't showing at all when she visited, although she says she feels like a whale now. Of course, she's never been anything but thin.

I'm kind of fascinated by this baby from an evolutionary standpoint. I remember reading about the "selfish gene" theory in high school, that all life on Earth is a means for DNA to propogate itself and spread. Oftentimes what is good for a gene and what is good for a species is at odds - DNA wants to preserve itself as-is, so we're attracted to people with whom we share similar characteristics, but hybrid vigor is good for the species as a whole, so we evolve taboos on knocking up one's sister. Putting the Alexei mind in the Martin body, though, sort of skewed the natural selection process, creating a genetic mixture that would otherwise be unlikely.

Mags is probably reading this and seething over how I've screwed up basic biology and genetics, but that's the thing - I'm finding that after the initial shock, my interest in Nat's pregnancy is kind of theoretical. As I am now, I've got no biological stake in it; my current selfish genes have nothing to do with that child. Even in the moments when I think of myself as more Marty than Marti, there's this weird sort of alternate reality thing about Nat having "my" child, like you've traveled to a parallel universe or backward and forward in time and find the world familiar but different in a few key aspects.

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