My Bellybutton by Jonah Eller-Isaacs

My bellybutton is amazing. It is a mysterious gastrointestinal portal. It is beautiful, and shapely, and inward-looking, and it is powerful. My bellybutton is remarkable. It creates more lint than a dryer. I have no need for a lint catcher. Why would I need something I can create in my own time, with nothing but my body and the clothes on my back?

In a week, I could mold a new human out of the lint. This lint being would be multicolored and fuzzy and probably unhappy, given that it was created out of lint. Though it was out of the rib of Adam that God created Eve, was it not? So it will be for me. I will create a new race of lint people, with the help of my trusty bellybutton.

I stare in awe at my bellybutton and its prowess. I am a navel gazer. I am the ultimate navel gazer. I am obsessed with my bellybutton and the lint it creates. In the mornings, I stare longingly at my naked stomach, wondering what worlds of lint I will find in the evening. I can control the colors and volume of lint through my wardrobe decisions. Some days I wait to take a shower, knowing that a particular garment produces a unique tint and that the longer I wear it, the more dramatic that massive fuzzball will be. The colors, the rainbow of old t-shirts and dust and hair; the colors are glorious.

Sometimes I will forget to empty the lint catcher that is my bellybutton, and I get in the shower, and the water courses down and cleanses me. The lintball escapes and I watch it slide towards the drain. I wonder, how far does it go? Does it make it out the sewers? Does it go on to discover new tiny linty universes? I think so. Probably. Definitely.

For a time, it was very sad. The times, and me, and my bellybutton; we were all sad. Doctors cut a hole in me and the lint factory closed down. I didn't want that hole that the doctors gave me. I love my doctors; they are wonderful people and they keep me healthy. But I hate what they do to me. It hurt, that hole, and it was one of many. It hurt to move, and to stretch and turn and twist my torso, which is the central motion in a lot of movement, which I didn't notice until that hole was there. I looked down at the black stitches and my lonely, lint-less bellybutton, and I was dejected. I worried for the future of my lint collection. I don't have a lint collection. If I did, I would have to find a new house with a guest room for the lint.

In time, though, miraculously, my bellybutton began to accumulate again. And it came back in force. Something about the small scar below my navel gave my powers of collection new life and vigor. Where small lint bunnies once played, there were now buffaloes of lint. Elephants of lint. Lint dinosaurs, once extinct, roamed the canyons and caverns of my belly. It was a hard time, being without the lint. I didn't realize how much I had missed it until it came back.

And so now every evening, as my wife and settle down for a snuggle and some reading time before bed, I reach down to my stomach and discover to my glee that the day has brought yet another gift to me. My wife's bare arms look like such a good home for the lint, and so I place the fuzz on her and say, “I have a present for you.”

My wife does not share my enthusiasm. She turns to me, notices the lint and screams, “OH MY GOD GET IT OFF GET IT OFF THAT IS SO GROSS!!!”

She just doesn't understand.

Jonah Eller-Isaacs lives in Brooklyn with his wife Kathryn, a modern dancer. His current project is a graphic memoir of his battle with stage IV melanoma, which he documents at