When you learn a fact like the one that opens this piece—that all the ants on Earth add up to the same weight as all the people—you want that to mean something, to have some consequence. This story is the consequence that fact imposed on my mind, the body horror it implied. If it makes your skin crawl, I hope you’re reminded of your own Ant Twin out there somewhere: its skin, too, is crawling.
By weight, there are as many ants on Earth as people, which means logically that every person on the planet has an Ant Twin, made up of millions of specific ants who would all, if they could just get together in one place, weigh the same amount as each and every one of us.
I’m building a glass case for my Ant Twin, me-shaped but smaller, because a mass of crawling ants would be denser than my body, with all its air pockets and water and fat. Human beings are almost fifty percent excess space, and we’re weaker for it, unable to lift even two or three times our own weight.
My human body disgusts me, but I will outgrow it when I see my Ant Twin, when I’ve gotten it all into one place, when I’ve put all the ants together into my own shape, when I watch my Ant Twin rise up out of the case, stretching its crawling limbs, learning to speak with my mouth, blinking its eyes at me until they become mine.
I will remain silent while my Ant Twin finds its feet on my floor, plants them, walks up the stairs out of my basement, and leaves without saying goodbye, never asking me to follow it out of my house because it knows that I never will.
I do not belong in its world.
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