3:53 p.m. - 2009-12-28
-Charles, you see how things start to happen as you stop thinking about living life start doing it?
I wondered at Rob saying this. It's hard for me to say say how much he was playing some role accidentally assumed by him, and how much was truly his choice. It sounds silly saying so but, I have trouble realizing other people are unique individuals and not human-like robots devoid of their own will. Even myself, I feel as if I am merely some oppressed peasant ruled by the microscopic tyranny of my cells, coasting on the inertia of my past, rolling like a terraqueous snowball, acquired figments of solid facts drowning in the watery dissipation of memory, falling and spinning like a lost planet.
I thought of my affinity for the ocean, despite nearly drowning in the warm September Atlantic on a deserted stretch of beach. My involuntary silence and breathlessness in moments where the choking hand of the past grabs a hold of its suppressor and says No. The ocean speaking, I let you live in a world born of my fruit, now you let me live in your mind until you are returned to me, don't forget that you will be.
And how I'm still drawn to her, despite the change in my perception of those pushing, crashing waves – to the pulling, raking tides. All our beach and property on loan from the relentlessly possessive demoness who will build a world up with her self replicating microbes tethered to her transparent filaments, only to take back the garbage dump that became of it, to be hidden in her depths and disinfected in her salt.
To my twin it was obvious what I was thinking and he spoke.
-You ever almost die?
That's a pretty personal question.
You ever almost die?
-No. But how's it personal?
It just is.
-But how, does it change your life?
Not me, some people, maybe, but it stays with you, and it's not something I try to think about.
-Well tell me about it, what's it like?
On how you die. Or almost die.
-How many ways are there?
A lot I suppose, you can die like dad, old and bitter. Like mom, proud and sick. You can die young and starving and hopeful with the oblivious eyes of the world staring out at the rich green grass behind you dwarfed by the white snow capped mountains in the distance, or like a ruined old begger at the feet of some unknown mercy in a crowded city. Or you can die, laughing like an idiot at the absurdity. That privilege and luck don't give you a point or a hope. The absurdity that we have the same existential dilemma as the poorest abused soul in the world. All our knowledge and happiness eclipsed by the fact that we will die soon. Without ever knowing why, yet having no other reaction than to laugh, because it's the instinct of a joker as much as it is to do so at comedy. The same way sad men cry in their final moments, the way the religious pray, the way unconditioned children stare with all the innocence of incomprehension, foreheads twisted into perplexity. We jokers laugh, a final toast in recognition knowing that the last one is on us. I drank deeply from my cold glass thinking, Touche`, well played.
-What happened to you, specifically?
I went surfing with hurricanes off the coast, huge waves and crazy riptides. Lost my board pretty far out and was caught in one.
-And you fought your way in?
Nope. Initially I tried but nothing happened, I just got tired. I laughed and thought about all the assholes who have walked out into the ocean never knowing they wouldn't make it back to shore and felt in some small way I deserved it for my silent mockery of them. I let the waves beat on me and push me down. As they pushed me to the bottom of the ocean where my chest grated on the sand I was pushed forward. I guess the rip doesn't go all the way down. I was pushed in over the course of some time the whole while thinking how peaceful it was when I finally give up and knew it was really happening. All that fear you have of death disappears, like some ghost who suddenly comes to life and starts chatting with you in a friendly way, you forget how terrible he is supposed to be.
-And so you made it to shore, and then what?
I laid there in the surf, vomiting, with my eyes closed. I couldn't walk or open my eyes for I don't know how long. When I finally did everything was so bright that I got a migraine and puked more. The friendly ghost disappeared, and left his haunting memory to overwhelm me at his whim.
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