In the world of
changing surface of the water had no mercy for the likes of me.
To a man terrified of uniformity there dwells the endless possibility
that there is no break in the surface, that empty space will continue un-pierced
by one ray of hope whether the chance of a single object we can cling to
tumbling within the navigable universe or the chance of one thought occurring
between you and the nearest empty corner that waits to swallow you whole.
Because, dear friends, the chance is so incredibly remote that we can
very well count on the despair. Whether
the brink is an infinite free-fall that awaits us in the end or a single
unforgiving line that divides the margin on one side of the paper, all are part
of the huge dial that can only lead us to deafening volume or terrifying
nurse carried my limp body into the bathroom for a routine plunge. He has no
understanding whatsoever, or else there would not be so many predators lying in
wait (an open magazine near the sink with, of all things, a picture of outer
space on the cover
clothes were quickly removed with a leer of unconcern and the faucet in that
white porcelain coffin was turned on. The
nurse looked at his watch as if he had better things to do. I was moved steadily
toward that brimming surface like a torpedo being launched into the deep.
The rising steam permeated what little of my skin can still feel it and
for one heart-racing instant I could not see.
He placed me into the rapidly filling tub and propped me up against the
back so I could sit.
struggled to think quickly of everything mentionable before he
disappeared out the door.
listen carefully..." I said with the maturity of my years and as
did everything I asked (except dumping out the trash), painfully slow as if he
were humoring some kind of mental patient.
Meanwhile the water was rising uncomfortably high.
The surface was level with my upper chest when he
finally turned it off and made a beeline for the door.
dripping!" I screamed as loud as I could.
"Turn the knob as tight as you can,
sorry." he said, turning it. "Will
there be anything else?"
couldn't help but think he was teasing me.
Having to trust him was so very difficult, but he was the only one
scared." I said desperately. "I'm
living on the edge and I'm afraid for my life."
stood there and looked at me in silence. "I'll be down the hall. Cry out if you need anything." he said.
"Just pretend you're at the beach going for a swim."
I like the beach." I replied, willing to say anything.
departed quickly, leaving me alone with my thoughts.
hate the beach. Sure I'm attracted
to it like everyone else, but that is the irony.
many people having fun, women wearing ridiculous clothes that are so enticing to
what else is there? One can say
there are fish and seashells, but the last beach I
never notice that we have fallen asleep of course.
I was beginning to dwell on
awoke suddenly to the sound of dripping water!
The faucet was steadily drooling by itself and as I gasped to scream my
throat filled with soapy liquid. I
choked it out and breathed frantically through my nose but even then I was
snorting froth. The surface had
risen to a point directly between my nose and upper lip!
I gave the loudest scream I could muster but the result was a muffled
cacophony of bubbles that did not sound human.
white-clad bastard has killed me!" was the only thought racing through my
had been planning this from the start, leaving innocently beforehand to remove
himself from the equation. This was
revenge for some mild inconvenience I had caused
the waterline rose steadily I could do nothing but produce deathly bubbles that
the surface had passed my nose and was approaching the eyes. My pupils were half-moons against the lower eyelid staring
downward in horror. I had held my
breath for over a minute which is more than the paralysis would allow.
I made no sound. The next thing I noticed was a dull pain in the back of
my head, and a deadening of the senses.
was barely aware, my eyes would not close and I fully realized it was the point
of no return. The surface of the
water had risen to the middle of the pupil and
was a shock to the system, more intense than I should be able to feel. The
waterline exploded into a wide meridian that engulfed my senses and spread from
rush seemed eternal until I suddenly realized I had stopped, and probably had
been so for a while. I had utterly
lost my grasp of time. I tried to
think of whether mine had run out or if I had an immeasurable excess, whichever
was the more frightening. For
a voice asked suddenly. "You
blinked, looked around and became aware of the surroundings.
Everything was a
meridian was still there in front of me, and as I walked slowly toward it I
finally had a
can walk!!" I suddenly exclaimed, almost falling over.
I had not realized that I could even turn my head all the way around.
I stepped with uncertainty to the left and right, making sure of my
footing on the preternatural ground. It
was not hard, but then it was not really there at all from what I could tell.
I stretched my arms, I clenched and unclenched my fingers.
I made a turn and walked several paces as if I had done it
you enjoying yourself?" the voice returned to me.
stopped and looked around for the speaker.
suppose so." I responded after a pause.
"To whom am I speaking?"
already know the answer to that." it said.
When you are addressing your 'dear friends', what friends would
talking to myself." I replied. "But
that is not like this. It's not a
now on it will be." the voice changed direction as if the speaker were
of this as a place where your mind can spread itself out into its many parts,
unhindered by worldly obstacles. I
am the part of you that knows what is going on."
what part am I?"
as you have been for years. You are
the unknowing ignoramus that's
mouth hung open as if to invite a fly. My
instinct was to shout a furious rebuttal but nothing happened.
It was because the realization, his realization, was also mine and I
understood the futility.
been waiting to talk some sense into you for some time." the voice
if it's easier to grasp, you have wanted it.
It all started with the car accident.
had nothing to say to this. I felt
like the numbness was taking effect again or else
is of no concern." it said wearily. "Do
not worry yourself."
you sure?" I inquired.
nothing more of it. We are not here
to talk about your life, miserable as it
closed my eyes, lowered my head in relief and breathed out the strongest gust of
you." I said quietly.
thank me." the voice replied.
looked up toward the transparent beings playing in the surf.
They were absorbed
is this place?" I asked directly. "Do
a dividing line between one infinite realm and another, as perceived by you and
a handful of others. It's a point
along the path that will lead you to what lies beyond."
afraid." I said, shuddering. "It's
the one thing I'm most afraid of. Infinity."
it only that, or is it this beach that troubles you?"
not the beach." I retorted.
you sure? Look at them, absorbed in
bliss as you put it. Have you
figured it out yet?"
don't see them doing anything that people don't do on Earth." I said
closer." the voice implored. "Get
in there yourself and see what happens."
walked the rest of the way to the shoreline some distance from the others, and
stopped at its lapping edge. I held
my breath and took a step into the surf, followed by another until I was quickly
up to my knees.
does it feel?" the voice inquired.
I said. "Unworldly I suppose.
Doesn't feel like water."
now look at the others. What
exactly are they doing?"
with each other and laughing."
but you disqualified that, remember? You
said that socializing can be done
like a true antisocial?" I asked.
at what they are really doing. I
tell you it is the same on Earth."
squinted, trying to observe them from an analytical standpoint.
I focused on one
talking and overlapping actions only disguised this peculiar schedule.
are going in and out because they enjoy the difference." I stated.
not enough to have one or the other, there must be a variety."
eloquently they rejoice in the separation." the voice replied.
see, it is not infinite despair that awaits everyone, it is infinite
watched the swirling water around me. The
ripples seemed to move in slow
you ready to move on?" the voice asked of me.
thought about it for a few seconds.
awaits me out there?" I inquired. "What
is my final destination."
am I supposed to know?" it said coyly.
"I'm you, remember?"
stood there in the waves and looked across as far as I could see.
I looked back
choose to stay." I replied. "I
want to play in the surf with the others."
voice gave no response but returned immediately to me and let me feel
Copyrightę2000 Len Rely