A short story – Underneath

Underwater fantasies plague me. They find a way into my dreams, and the poetry of my daily life. I often wish I could run from them, but I end up reveling in their beauty, even the ones that include my drowning. They mirror my life. I am subsciously submerged. It is the aqueous world of slow movement, being unable to breath. Surrounded by that that is alien, I am an animal in water. I try to run, but I’m unable to. I try to breath and my lungs refuse. I wake up, but only partially.  My other half is still there, still submerged, always under. But what can I do but continue to walk, breathe, live. So I go about my daily tasks; with effort, my limbs strain against unknown tension, density. Maybe that’s it, that this world feels so dense. Ever since I lost the one I loved the world has morphed by scientific property in some unknown way.

I find myself sitting out in the desert sun on a hot day; my skin sweltering and sweating in its rays, my mind dwelling in that of a cool underwater palace. I am caught by thoughts of falling under, of circling and twisting through, almost running out of  breath, a hand coming in at the last minute to pull me to safety. It feels both silky and labored. It is the road I am walking on now.

The man at the local grocery store always greets me. He knows my name and I know his from the tag he wears at his breast. I was buying items for a new stir fry recipe. It called for watercress. As he typed in its number, he looked at me and said, “You know the ocean contains our greatest mysteries?” I nodded and he continued, “The thing about mysteries is they are both exciting, beautiful, and terrifying. They can be anything.” I could tell he was thinking of a memory. He was also dwelling somewhere deep within himself. He finished ringing up my items and wished me a good day.  I carried on my way, dragging my feet through the watery shallows of my mind.

I was feeling mysterious. As the grief had left my body, slowly and with effort, a cavern had filled with a substance of emotion I did not yet know. When I pictured it in my mind’s eye it was swirling dark, velvet black and blue; silver flecks sparkled, like stars throwing out light indiscriminately, almost madly. It was an impending constellation, rising from below.