The Ocean Floor (Opening Chapter)

-A Man Near The Sea-

A few shallow breaths disjointedly distanced, scattered recklessly through time. The silence in between. Where all sorts of evil breads in the mind. And a woman. Whom I love. Soon the walls will close in. She breathes in. Her chest barely rises. And a woman… She swallows dryly. Whom I love… Breathes out. A short hoarse release. She sinks into the bed. Why must she look so relieved? The ceiling. The lights. I haven’t much longer still. The air is thin. Thinning. Breathe… And a woman… Breathe… Whom I love… Breathe… I must leave.

Every night. At her side. Breath for breath. Suspended. The mimicry takes its toll. I escape to the darkness in the streets, to the sea.


The water flows down his throat like a raging river. The flow then reverses. How does one let go of breath? How does one greet water in the lungs? The mind is resolute to let go, yet the body clings to life. He is sinking now, ever deeper, away from the waves, from the ocean gale, from life, his limbs floating lightly at his side. The last of his air escapes his mouth and nose, upwards in small dancing bubbles, surrendered dearly to the woman whom he loves. A last offering. He inhales deeply, welcoming the entire ocean into his lungs.


It is said a man near the sea does not draw breath. That wind is granted him, saline as mother’s milk, for to fill his lungs and heart.

Arthur stumbles over the cobblestones out into the night. There is a thin drizzle veiling dim the yellow of the street lights. The air is cold against the bottom of his lungs. There is happiness unknown in a breath. There is unfathomable guilt. The sort that awaits you deep with the teeth pointing inward.

He escapes farther into the night like a man trying to outrun the fire on his back. Until, breathless once more, he kneels into the waves. As their regular rhythm soothe his breathing; as the ocean reclaims his salty tears; as the gale off the sea fills his lungs; Mother, he cries to the vastness beyond.


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