Since Einstein wrote:

"this requirement of general covariance... takes away from space and time the last remnant of physical objectivity" - The Foundation of the GTR

And:

"In a consistent theory of relativity there can be no inertia relatively to "space" but only an inertia of masses relatively to one another." - Cosmological Considerations of the GTR

Why is everyone talking about Einstein explaining gravity by "distortions" and "curvature" of "the spacetime fabric"? Where did he do this?

Now, ordinarily, it is gravity that pulls a ball down an ordinary slope. Here gravity is a force. When, extraordinarily as in words, the gravity of a heavy object causes the "sloping" of the "spacetime fabric", what force causes the lighter object to go "down" the "slope"? Unless, there is a force that causes the lighter object to go down the "slope", then theanalogyof a "trampoline-like" "space fabric" is useless.

The retrogression of the idea of "the fabric of spacetime" is that it reasserts the Absolute Space and Absolute Time of Newton's philosophy/theology as the twin Absolute SpaceTime, a fabric, no less. (And all this after the demise of theether!) Newton, himself, promptly dropped Absolute Space and Absolute Time at theoutset of his science! He stated that only Relative Time and Relative Space were important to his science and all practical measurements.

Now if there is no time, space, or spacetime that exists physically, not counting the radiation of stars, what is the nature of inter-galactic regions, for example? Here, one needs to extend the concept of matter beyond Einstein's. For Einstein, matter is everything apart from gravity. However, this distinction appears suspicious as gravity, like all forms of Einsteinian matter (including light), has energy that acts gravitatively. So gravity by all accounts is a "type" of Einsteinian matter.

Thus, there is no space and there is no spacetime, there is gravity always. This gravity is not isotropic, but may be described, as all smoothly continuous extended objects, by its internal (Ricci) curvature and metric.

Gravity determines geodetic world lines which are the 4D loci of bodies that are freely falling. (This imagery of lines are of course analogies as in magnetic lines of force and are useful in visualizing the anisotropy and directionality of energetic fields. ) There is no "bending" of "the spacetime fabric".

Next time, about "time".