I’m sitting in a sinking boat, floating in a stagnant sea. The water is brown and leafy. Mosquitos swarm around my head and take the shape of clouds on the skyline. The shore is almost out of sight. Large green trees guard the sand.
I don’t remember what it was like standing there staring out at the sea or winding through the forest, carried by the pillowy floor. I have no idea why I launched this boat or even sat in it to begin with. I don’t know where I’m heading because I am not rowing. I am drifting; the way that mud allows for drift. And the only sights I see are sunrises, accentuating brown, and sunsets, dying gray.
I haven’t spoken a word in weeks. I examine the thickness of the water; I feel it in my hand. I listen to the cracking wood of the boat when stiff winds move me a foot or so. In the distance I think I see another boat, but it is sailing with some speed. It has a person on it, smiling and speaking out-loud to himself or possibly, someone else – someone he can see, but I cannot. His boat is cutting through the thickness and soaring toward the shore, unaffected by the trapping mud. As he goes ashore, he sees me and waves me in. As he heads for the trees he shouts, “There’s nothing out there. I’m going back.”
I raise my hand to wave and wonder what he meant. I heard the words, but it made no sense. I turn and sit and stare and watch the water shine like oil; hardly thinking anything at all. And soon, I vaguely remember seeing a man run off into the woods, and I think he spoke of something but I don’t know what it was.
I lose myself again in the yellow-orange mist rising from the water and swirling from the mosquito hordes. I feel the urge to tip over and let my weight carry me over-board and sink me to the ocean floor and fall asleep with a heavy sigh and pull the grime and filth over me like a warm and cozy blanket. And so I do.
In the water I don’t feel wet and in the mud I don’t feel trapped. I breathe deeply and I feel eerily at ease. I feel drained but comforted. And I feel utterly alone.
Peering up I can see the light of the dying sun; forcing its way through the surface of the water. I can see my boat, but I can’t remember ever being in it. I feel as though I’ve been lying here forever. So I stare at the rays of light as they fade away and I watch the boat above slowly drift away.
Soon, I remember seeing something bright but do not know what to call it or how long ago I saw it. I remember seeing something dark move away like a hovering shadow but I cannot describe it exactly.
I look around the darkness and I feel the thickness that blankets me with my hands. Slowly, I get still and close my eyes. After a while I open them but can’t remember ever closing them.
I don’t know where I am. There is nothing. I cannot see and I cannot feel and I cannot remember being able to.
Suddenly, the sight of the man on the shore appears in the space behind my eyes and I see him there. I understand the words he shouted and they pierce my ears. My mind shudders.
Fear is all I feel and it is everywhere.