Tanned and muscular, Mario could not have been more Greekly masculine; but he was infinitely patient too, and his boat was glass-bottomed. It allowed you to see what would otherwise not be seen, down to the depth beyond which the human eye could not penetrate. Through panes which light and water rendered jade, I saw starfish, octopuses, loggerhead turtles, a mysterious underworld of shoaling and sand and rock and weed and murk. The prism of the glass was our fish eye, and we were an underwater creature with an excess of limbs. When I raised my head I saw Ionian blues and sun-baked land and cliff faces carved into irreproducible forms by wind and water. In their lee we dived and swam into caves lit from below by the sun striking through the water to reflect off white sand. Mario’s boat took us places we would not have otherwise gone. From the depths he retrieved the handle of an amphora, unseen by human eyes since the time of the gods.
Looking through the glass, I thought of Momus, the god of raillery and mockery, who wanted windows set in the breasts of men, the better to see inside their hearts. If I wasn’t already awildslimalien, I might have called this place Glass-bottomed boat. For here is where I lay open my heart and let you inside my mind; where also I try to see inside the breasts and foreheads of others. Of course I can’t see inside of everyone; I’m no Greek god. But if I have anything of a gift for seeing where sight alone doesn’t take you – into the idiosyncracies of the relationships of others, across boundaries of sex and species – then I feel I should make use of it, and give back what I have been gifted.