Heaven Below a Scorched Plane

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Chapter 14

Today I woke up feeling satisfied. Kind of that glowing, seize the day mentality. It was good while it lasted, but I think my mind had drifted off somewhere else because it quickly became apparent that there was nothing here to illicit that feeling.

It's a weird feeling, not having plans. I have these phantom pains almost, these vestigial alarms urging me to hurry nowhere. Even after all this time the internal mechanisms in my head haven't fully adjusted. It reminds me of the time when my laptop was two hours behind because I hadn't changed the time for two years. Even after getting a new laptop, I still had a distinct distrust in the displayed time, always wondering what time it actually was. I guess that's another part of my brain that won't be needed.

Anyway, I tried something a little different today. I lied down on my bed and closed my eyes. I imagined the beach, the water moving in and out, fish jumping up every now and then. It wasn't a particular beach, but it took on qualities of each one I'd been to previously. It had the clear waters of some more tropical areas, but it also had the seaweed shelf of the local beach, acting as a partition of sorts between the sand and the waves. I remembered being timid at first to walk across all that built up seaweed. Well, timid isn't the right word, more like grossed out mixed with fear that some animal was hiding inside. Even when I got over that anxiety, I'd still rush over the shelf, tiptoeing as a went.

There wasn't anyone with me on the beach, it was silent save for the crashing waves and the shifting sands. I imagined sitting down in the waves, running my hands along the wet sand. Wet sand on the beach behaves in a way that I can't exactly explain. It's like physics just acts differently there, and replication will only fail. I'd sit there, picking up broken bits of shells and observing them closely before dropping back into the swirling sand where the waves would promptly whisk it away, never to be seen again. I could do it so flippantly, drop these once in a lifetime trinkets back into the water. It didn't even register, why would it? It was just a bit of coral, the edge of a sand dollar. And yet it was something else, something indelibly important, in some unseen way. What power I had, to watch these things disappear from existence.

As I lay there imagining this scenario, halfway between construction and memory, I couldn't stop it from distorting in small ways. Scenes would get repeated over and over again, changing only slightly each time. I'd try to continue the vision, keep it alive in my head, but with every attempt the looping only intensified. Music from my past drifted in and out of my mind, breaking my internal silence. It all swirled and churned inside me, like a whirlpool of consciousness that wouldn't leave. I imagined myself getting older, watching the tide rise and fall, the sun and moon took turns setting as my time whittled away. My eyes blurred from age, and as each day progressed my breathing became more hampered. Day after day warped my bones and sanded my skin as I watched the waves.

I jolted up from my bed and sat there for a while. I was drenched with sweat, and my heart was beating faster than it had in years. As I looked around the room, I couldn't help but feel like everything around me was only partially real, like with only a bit of effort I could peel away the concrete walls like paper and walk away.

I just want it all to leave me. I want to release this thing, this chain that keeps me in the physical, and leave it all behind. I want fragility to leave me, I want sense to leave me. I want to be separate, because then I'll know I'm safe.


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