He’d been digesting things every minute of his life without paying the slightest attention to it. How odd to think that his stomach lining and his mysterious small intestine were as much a part of him as his brain or tongue or penis. As he lay and strained to feel the subtle ticks and sighs and repositionings in his abdomen, he had a premonition of his body as a long-lost relative waiting at the end of a long road ahead of him. A shady relative whom he was glimpsing for the first time only now. At some point, hopefully still far in the future, he would have to rely on his body, and at some point after that, hopefully still farther in the future, his body was going to let him down, and he would die. He imagined his soul, his familiar personal self, as a stainless gold ring slowly making its way down through ever-stranger and fouler-smelling country, toward shit-smelling death. He was alone with his body; and since, weirdly, he was his body, this meant he was entirely alone.
— Jonathan Franzen, Freedom