It’s 7 AM. I’m in the water with my salt sister, Abi, and she’s singing songs about the stars. The sun is mighty bright and the boobies are flying ocean low. Black-tip sharks are roaming the reef, and the wind is blowing the crystals into long prisms that rain around my body.
I see a rising wave. I swim for it. Left, right, left. It captures me. I’m up. I’m down. Wiped out. I try to swim to the top, but a blue giant is holding me under with his milk water hands and fat froth fingers. He’s a con artist after my bones. He’s tossing my body; all loose and fast and careless. I feel like a wildcat in a tornado.
There goes my bathing suit. There goes my Rasta colored surfboard. There goes my mystery and my religion and my ancestors. Dreams spill out of my head. Tender ghosts bubble and cloud float.
I kick my legs and butterfly my arms. I’m about to surface, but the giant pushes me back down. He’s smothering me in his sea-foam. I need air. I need air. I need air to flood into my blood and fill my body with a holy hot revival.
I open my eyes, all I can see are shades of blue; erasing me, blueing me. If I had one wish, I’d wish for papa sky to make me a flying fish. If I had two wishes, I’d wish for Leonard Cohen to dance me to the end of love. If I had three wishes, I’d wish for three more.
Saltwater is shoving itself into my kiss. I try not to swallow. I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’m gonna die. I’m always afraid that I’m gonna die. I’m afraid that I’ll die without having lived enough. I’m afraid that I’ll die without having loved enough, done enough, worked enough, seen enough, read enough, learned enough, created enough. I’m afraid that I’ll die unenlightened and unwanted and unhinged. When I die, I want to be remembered for something. I want my name to be among the pop legends, and I want the mushrooms to beat the drums and firework the night when they taste the decay of my body.
In case I am dying, I should tell you something. Some truth. What can I tell you about me that you don’t already know? Well how about this, I stole a three-cent baby doll from Hobby lobby when I was four. Because I wanted it, and my mom wouldn’t buy it for me, so in a fast moment I made a wicked decision and I took it, and snuck it into my mom’s purse, and it felt so right and not wrong.
And when my mom found out what I did, she made me march right back into Hobby Lobby and return the three-cent baby doll to the store manager. I handed it over and said, “I’m sorry” without even looking at the manager’s xerox eyes. The baby doll wasn’t any bigger than my pinkie finger. The fluorescent lights were all toad neon above us. I felt like a plant under a heat lamp. The manger looked just like Dolly Parton without the boobs. She was all orange aproned and bling bling ba-bling blinging. She even had those glittering-1980s-style witch-nails that were as long and winding as a snake and made you wonder how on earth she could pick up the phone, or touch any key on the cash register, or flush a toilet, or do anything at all for that matter. Anyway I told the manager how sorry I was for doing what I’d done. And I’m sure I got a lickin’ and a mean lookin’ when I got home.
This is not the worst thing that I’ve ever done, it’s just the first worst thing that I’ve ever done. And I figured I might as well tell you about it in case I do die and this incident helps on some level to answer the age old question of if humans are inherently good or evil.
I’ll tell you what’s evil, this giant that is still holding me underwater. Everything is sonic pulsed and pale. I sea curse this giant to a wretched plunge into the foul-foamed mouth of a sailor-eating sea goddess that will chew him up in a shark-fanged tempest and sink what’s left over of him with the stones.
Explode. Release. Relax.
The giant is letting go of me. I kick. I surface. I gasp. I’m coughing up saltwater. Breathing fast. Thinking slow. There are bikinis and surfboards all around me. I’m fried with energy. It’s like I’ve swallowed the sun. Like I’m half-high and half-low and all glow. I put my swimsuit back on and while I’m looking for my board, I shout to Abi, “Let’s go surf somewhere else babe, that wave just tried to murder me!“
And Abi’s all, “What are you talking about mate, these waves are perfect!”