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And to be entirely truthful the first first moment is hazy. I was lost in a world of synaesthetic fire, pawing out at the incoherent jangle of sudden perceptive barf that stabbed in at the amorphous horror that was quickly coalescing into my sense of self.

I was released into a blazing light, and then I fell down.

It was bliss. There was a world of smooth coolness firmly beneath me and a world of warm, blurry fog above me. I felt very peaceful. I could have lived a life splayed out like that, seeing nothing and understanding none of what I heard – currents of air, chirping birds, approaching footfalls, shouts of alarm. It was all a wondrous symphony of inexplicable and awesome stimuli, now that I’d managed to throttle the input a little by lying face down.

That’s when the apes came. They rolled me over and wiggled their lips at me while they grunted. I thought it was beautiful and magical.

With the benefit of hindsight I recognize now that they were people, just like me. They were my fellow travellers. They had rushed over because I had collapsed as soon as I stepped out of the gate. What they wanted to know was, “Are you okay?”

In reply I smiled serenely and reached out to touch their sparkly, wet-looking eyes. Funny monkeys!

“I think he shat himself,” concluded somebody.

There I was, not two minutes old, lying on the polished floor of the travel terminal, a crowd of cooing strangers gathering around me, their periphery being pushed aside by concerned authorities and their minions. I was the subject of some excitement. That much was clear even to me as I drooled and hummed, dazzled by the sun.

An auspicious start, wouldn’t you say?

That was five weeks ago now. This morning the nurses brought me a cupcake with five little candles jammed into it, and sang me a silly song. “Happy Birthday, Simon!” they cheered. “You’re five weeks old!”

I blew out the candles with all the aplomb and dignity the situation warranted. “And yet I don’t feel a day over a month,” I said. “The secret is eating your greens.”

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