A fictional piece told in second person.
An ode to our youth, to the things we never achieved, and to the people we could never become.
You are in a hidden room, located on the outskirts of an aquarium. You forget how you got there, but just know that the front door reads “Authorized Personnel”. It’s a blue room. There are two metallic doors adjacent to each other, and you just came in through one of them. On the opposite side of you is an opening, a missing wall like that of an open garage. It overlooks a bridge that rests on top of the ocean. You feel the sea’s crisp breeze envelop your face like aromas of cake baking on a hot summer afternoon. The light that comes in through the opening is enough to illuminate the entire cerulean toned space, and it makes the wet floors detailed and visible. There are splotches here and there of water left over from divers and researchers and fishermen coming in and out, splotches that resemble cattle grazing over vast expanses of grass, acres and acres of lush greens. Like children emerging from their classrooms at noon to
color courtyards full of basketball courts and lunch tables; each child a resplendent pixel on a scholastic graphic. You feel as though you are standing in the middle of a utopian paradise, but never realize you are nowhere near a paradise. It is merely a research room in the back of an aquarium.
You walk towards the center of the room, attracted to some sort of box. There is a pillar, an altar of some kind. It raises up about two feet off of the ground, and on top of its cement mass lies the box. It’s made of metal or hard plastic. You convince your six year old self that it’s metal. You touch the box, feeling all of its alkaline grooves. The box is also wet. It groans in rust-fueled agony as you pass your chubby, soft hands over the antonymous surface. Like stubble on a forty year old face, the creaks of the box radiate their metallic years aloft your child hands.
You look inside the box. You can’t seem to tell what it contains. You don’t know what it is. In noncontempt you bludgeon the box as if to seduce an answer from it. Nothing. You want someone to come in from the open door overlooking the sea, perhaps a diver, perhaps a researcher, to tell you what lies inside. But alas, no one comes. You wave your head in distress at the enigmatic obstacle in your way of understanding. It’s no use. You stay there, next to the altar, about ten minutes, trying to decipher the ancient pictorials of the box’s contents. The water on the floor, the water you are stepping in, easily glimmers in superior content at your ignorance. It glimmers as if to let out a sigh of ease towards your naivety. The water that splotches the floor glimmers in such a calm, placid way, as if stagnant with
infinite lethargy. You stay in the room, unknowing of its absurd agendas, only wanting to unravel the mysteries of the box you are so enamored with; only wanting to scratch the unrelenting surface of knowledge as everyone ever does. You stay for a few more minutes and leave at your mother’s call.
You are on a bus in the slums of the city. In one hand lies your phone, causing a fracas of
notifications, and in the other rests a tepid cup of coffee that you would rather not drink. Your day at work has been long and you’re eager to grab some beer. The bus is tinted with a shade of blue, and the day is growing yellow with time. You pass by houses incessantly, and they are flashing you with their ostentatious facades. You observe various beiges, gaudy flora, fountains never-ending. The usual. The bus halts, carrying along with it your heaving momentum. You recuperate from the abrupt stop and start to reposition yourself. Out of boredom, you look to your left and see a painting of a swordfish on a wall of a trailer home. It’s surrounded by flowers of saturated, lovely colors; purple and pink. The swordfish is mighty, and titanic. It looks as if it has just emerged from the vast expanses of the ocean. You wonder why the two are placed next to each other. It’s just pretty, and that is good enough for you. The painting is old though, you notice. You can tell because of the fading tonal pallets and chipping acrylic. It stands out from the sea of houses so effortlessly; so naturally. The moment in which the stride of the bus passes the reminding mural seems to last forever, yet the fluttering feeling in your stomach suddenly is
Green light. Explicative. The bus continues on its journey. You quickly and desperately turn 180
degrees and try to catch a last, final glimpse of the beautiful sight. A palm tree is in your way.
You turn back in your chair, and put on the mask of anonymity you previously wore. Like a
businessman you readjust your 30 year old biology to show non-effort and lack of interest. In the orgiastic fray you spilled a bit of the coffee on your trousers. You proceed to clean it, while your neighbor next to you turns ever so slightly to avoid and evade your what-they-perceive-as perverted action. You glance to your side and smile sneeringly, yet apologetically as if to ease any ill-manifested disgust. It doesn’t work because the person’s head is turned away from you. You breathe, suavely slick your hair back with your fingers, and resume your common commute from your 9 to 5, along with the other sardines in that tightly cramped can of a vehicle.
Later that night you return home after a night at the bar. Usual. It’s midnight and your head is
hurting. Maybe you shouldn’t have had that extra beer. Maybe someone put something in your drink. Hopefully not. You start making your way to your room, glancing over to your roommate with torpid passivity. He notices that you look curiously vibrant, glowing, pregnant. “What’s up?” he asks. You reply with an exasperated “Nothing.” Having retreated to your room, you drop your clothes, and quickly get into bed, the throbbing headache a fiery reminder of your deeds. You start to drift into sleep, into a hypnagogic trance filled with thoughts of the painting you saw that morning; marine waters flowing above your head cooling the cognitive dissonance.
The passion is rekindled. The fervent interest absorbs every other infatuation of then, and drowns it. The curiosity grants life to flights of ideas; spasms of brilliance. As the night continues on, you envision yourself in a blue room with wet floors. In the center of it is a box. You don’t know what’s inside the box. You want to open it.
The sea cannot be opened.