He moved towards the horizon, his paddle effortlessly cutting through the calm water. From faraway, the sea could be mistaken for glass. The ocean’s surface was unbelievably smooth and glossy, like a freshly laminated document. His cerulean eyes peered to the right, then to the left, trying to search for nothing in particular beneath the water’s static exterior. At this time of day the light from the sun made the water semi-translucent. With trained eyes, he could spot a jellyfish 50 meters away dancing gracefully under the weight of the sky and earth above. Stranding himself in the sea was a form of escapism. He could distance himself from other people, his home, his responsibilities. Yet, no matter where he paddled, he could never escape his own mind. He wanted so badly to truly escape. But he knew he couldn’t. Hanging in the balance between wanting and knowing was where his sadness grew. He didn’t know if he should feel sorry for himself. Maybe he felt as though someone else should be sorry for him, but that didn’t seem right either. Maybe he should feel bad for someone else? He wasn’t sure. He felt like he was being taken advantage of by his own choices. With that realization he gave into a temptation, a strange sort of malicious temptation that pulsated through his body. With his bronzed ankle tethered to his board, he swam after the jellyfish trying to attract its attention. Without eyes the jellyfish stared him down before elegantly swaying away. He bobbed to the surface, shaking his soaked hair dry. He propped himself up on his forearms against his board until he reached a sitting position. He sat towards the sun thinking. Perhaps the world wasn’t really against him. Maybe the only person against him was himself.
Mustard High Tops
She sat in the passenger seat of the black GMC Denali, sunroof open to the abysmal grey sky thinking to herself, convincing herself, that insomnia was a coping mechanism, not a form of self destruction. He sat in the driver seat, but it felt like there were miles between them rather than inches. She tried to ignore the fact that she could feel the vibrations his restless leg sent through the car.
They both wanted love. Well she wanted it. He needed it. She gave him everything she could. It took all of her light to warm him just above the point of freezing. But she was the kind of woman who looked through a man, not at a man. Her eyes belittled, demeaned, and infuriated...crumbling the exterior of his masculinity the longer she gazed. She couldn’t help it.
His brown ever-so-slightly curly hair, parted at the center, fell to his shoulders. He looked like a little boy. His eyes so pink and swollen. They sat facing the vast cloud-filled sky, trying to distinguish where the horizon lied between water and air. Trying to distinguish where love lies between infatuation and lust.
Their shared mesmerization was broken by his door opening and shutting with a slam. She followed his mustard yellow high top converse towards the chain link fence with her eyes. He stood in solitude, looking to the ocean as if in search of himself. The mustard high tops strolled back to the car to retrieve something, and swiftly returned him to the barrier between the overlook and death, now dressed in a black hoodie.
The smell of weed wafted through the windows of the car. She watched as he sat beneath a low palm tree and a power line smoking. Clouds billowed from his lips and high above him different clouds obscured the sunshine.
She thought to herself that she loved him and she loved herself. Yet, the only way for him to learn to love, was without her.
She got out of the car and ran towards the overlook.
Never to be seen or heard from again.
The drive was long. It gave her time to notice things. Obscure things that she liked to think only she noticed.
For example, the street names perpendicular to his neighbourhood were all spices. She tried to taste them as she drove by: cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg…
Nutmeg was the hardest to imagine. She always mixed it up with allspice and cloves.
She was learning to divide distance with each of her senses. From her door to his, she had to conjure up dozens of flavors to taste. She had to listen to 8 songs on the radio. She had to see 40 different places where the roads diverged. She had to smell the fuel exhaust permeating through her air conditioning vents. But hardest of all, was feeling. Feeling how stretched the cord was that attached his heart to hers. As she drove closer she gained slack and as the intangible cord relaxed, so did she.