New Lives Washed Over

        Five men were sitting on a rather small wooden raft. The sun was blazing on their heads. They thought of making shade using their shirts, but each one was unwilling about removing their own shirts since they all knew that they would have even more skin for the sun to blaze on. So each man removed the shirt of the person next to him. The moment that the shadower was built, they ran aground. The raft was ruined. They has no way to return to from which they came, even if they had a place to return to. They decided to build a new society.

***

       Neptune held a water bottle in his left hand. Declaring all that is wet shall be his kingdom as he opened the bottle. The bottle was what made Neptune the god that he was. He tried making a perfectly circular kingdom around him, but the water flowed in odd directions. Some of it evaporated into the sky. When it started raining, Neptune realized that everything has a chance of getting wet. Terrified, Neptune changed his name and went to drink his troubles away.

       The bottle is permanently lost.

***

       I was lying face down on the sun-warmed pier. My face was about three meters above the water. Looking down I could see a small plastic object that kept almost hitting one of the pier support beams. I tried not to think and just hear the surf and imagine becoming one with it. I tried to spit onto the waves, just so I will have a part of me that will continue without me knowing where it will go. The wind constantly blew it away so that it always hit the support beam before it hit the waves.

       Maybe if I could shed a tear it would work. I tried to look up and stare into the soon to be setting sun. However, it was behind me. So I just tried to remember. I don’t seem to be able to remember if I was ever able to cry.

***

       She sat on the shore somewhere in the south of Greece. The crisis that affected the country seemed far away to her. The waves were a quiet shade of blue.

       An old woman wearing nothing,but white appeared a couple of meters to her right. The woman walked straight into the sea. She tried to call to her, saying that she will watch her dress while the woman goes swimming. The woman continued to walk at a steady pace. When the water reached the old woman’s head, she knew that something was wrong. She ran after the woman, swimming as fast as she could. She could not find her in the salt waters. She dove again and again, but the salt stung her eyes and she could not see anything, beneath or above the waves. When her arms grew tired she gave up.

       “Time to head back to Egypt” she told herself as she walked on the sea in a straight line, a golden headdress appearing from thin air.

***

       The sinking of the Korean ferry was the thing that sent him over the edge. He would go to every memorial service he could find. He looked for awareness conferences for different type of diseases. He would pick up the service ribbons of different colors. The ones that people put on their left lapples. He braided them together to a long rope. The Korean ferry memorials gave him the last ribbons he needed. All in suddenly bright yellow.

       He died on a Tuesday.

***

       He smelled like nail polish and greed. His smile showed white teeth in abundance. I thought he had them veneered especially so they would look extra threatening. He was a shark. I, on the other hand, was a box jellyfish. Not the deadly kind, and only elegant if there was nothing next to me. I wore a perfume that other people described as a sweet kind of coy, but for me it smelled like grape jelly. The conversation migrated to the ethical questions regarding the reappropriation of racial slurs. I did want to participate without saying any of the words. Not because I believed they were inherently offensive or because I was offended by them, but quite the opposite. I did not grow up with these sensibilities and didn’t want to accidentally cross the line and offend someone.

       The rain just started as we finished our cigarettes so the conversation came to an abrupt end as we walked inside. There were too many people to continue the conversation with ease. I was thankful for that. Unfortunately, there were too many people inside to be elegant in my jellyfishiness. I tried to be elegant anyways. There is nothing more pathetic than someone who is not elegant trying too hard. I wanted another smoke just to have something to do. I went outside in the rain, only partly aware that I had no plan of going back in. I had rather get wet.

***

       It was on that evening that I realized she would never speak to me again. I knew that I went overboard slightly. I knew that even if I do believe in the things I said, which I do, I probably made a mistake in the way I said them. I am willing to admit that, but I am not sure that never talking to me again is the right reaction. And I still know that my overreaction was that she pushed all my buttons at once, and I can’t believe that was by chance. That is not the full truth, she pushed almost all of the buttons. The last buttons that was pushed now was the silent treatment. That was a button that is terribly difficult to unpush.

       It was on that evening that I decided to forget about it all and have my first bath in years.

***

       Rasputin, the black cat, was sitting on the edge of the bathtub. The Shabbat dinner carp was swimming, waiting to be beheaded. Rasputin cleaned his left ear while contemplating the meals ahead. His owner, Victoria, walked into the bathroom to collect the fish. Before she managed to place her hand around it, there was a loud crash from the kitchen. Something was clearly wrong. Victoria ran out, calling her husband’s name at the top of her lungs.

       When he heard her wailing on the phone, Rasputin realised that his dinner plans were cancelled. He decided to deploy his contingency plan and hunt the fish on his own. The first attempt ended in nothing. As did the second and third. In the fourth he mis-swiped and tumbled into the bathtub. He jumped out yelping, thinking that he rather starve.

***

       Two goldfish swam around in a plastic bag. The water kept swinging back and forth as it was held by a small child. Without talking they were both aware that the other was also worried about the same thing: Where are they going? They both grew up in a rectangular aquarium which means they had a very specific way of seeing the world outside the water tank. The motion prohibited a stable point of view. The one with a left black fin tried to swim to the top, to mix some air into the gils. The child misstepped and the water churned.

       They arrived at a small rectangular place with a plastic miniature kelp and glass sands. They knew perfectly well that this is where they would die.

***

       A small cockroach hanged on to a piece of toilet paper shaped liked a spiral shell. The roach was nicknamed Al, short for Alhambra, and she was about a week old. The flush came as no surprise to her. She heard stories about it. Her family was from a dump that had sewage filters. She held on to the paper for dear life with as much force that her barbed legs could afford. The current was fast, but it almost didn’t matter, her exoskeleton remained intact. Al, like most cockroaches, was both resilient and not brilliant at keeping conscious. There were no filters to pass through or climb out of the stream with. When she woke up she was next to an exposed cess pool. She crawled out in full daylight for the first time in her life. She looked around and scattered to find a place to hide from it.

***

       The rain fell faster than ever on the mountains to the west. In about an hour the floods would begin. Dead looking plants would start blooming again, one could feel their preparation for it. The botanist sat on a ledge, looking into the soon to be full ravine. The one sentence he hated more than anything was still ringing in his ears. He heard it a minute before he left town for this expedition. “We will make the desert bloom!” He was enraged, thinking “The desert doesn’t need your fucking help!”

       The desert spirit was clear to him. The same spirit that was constantly confused with a divine vision whenever a monk or a prophet went to seek the truth in this supposedly barren hills. The spirit smiled, happy to be recognized. The spirit looked straight at him, but before he could understand what it was she had tried to say, the flood came in and drowned all.

***

       The fear of dehydration began an obsession with public restrooms. He had a mental map of all the free ones in a three mile radius. He was now at the exact point that is the farthest away from all the ones he knew. He didn’t like this place. The dislike turned into a need to pee. The need to pee caused a faster walking pace. He reached the second nearest bathroom in time for it to be closed for cleaning. He didn’t feel his need to pee was urgent enough to go to the closest one, because he disliked that one. The way to the next one on his map was done in a half run. It was open and free for his use.

***

       She ran to the kitchen to grab a cup of water. She was always thirsty when the sleep paralysis ended. It was no longer scary, but it still made her throat unbelievably dry every time. Water did nothing to remove the thirst, but anything else made her feel like her throat was on fire. It’s amazing what you can get used to and what just doesn’t seem to fit. She stood by the sink waiting for the third cup to get filled, cursing the low water pressure. Drinking the water, now slower, she looked at the light slowly moving from the windows to the floor.

       She decided not to smoke today. Everytime she lowered the nicotine intake, the sleep paralysis became less common. She wasn’t sure if it wasn’t just correlations - she was less stressed so she smoked less and had less paralysis. It was time to put it to the test.

***

       The Bloop is the most famous of the underwater loud sounds. Julia is actually louder, but came in later. They were heard, resonating over more than 5,000 kilometers by hydrophones. I wanted to say that this is more that I have ever travelled, but that is untrue. I wanted to say it is more than I travelled if you exclude plane travel, but that is still untrue. They were recorded and now can be played at sixteen times the speed of the original. The Bloop has a source that was triangulated. Julia doesn’t. It is now a near consensus that they were the outcome of ice shifting around on the ocean floor. It was presumed at one time that they might be ancient animals waking up. I wish to believe something in the middle, the ice is slowly becoming alive. The Bloop was a call, Julia a resolute answer. The ice is waking up. Everything is waking up.