Surrealscape # 5

A mirror on the seafloor. Its surface is tarnished, its shape is rectangular; its perimeter is framed by a gilded, gaudy once-gold. It sits upright, end dug into the sand – although not deep enough to support its uprightedness, which is therefore questionable. You’re as yet unaware of its existence. You’ve come to the curvilinear sea-edge to say goodbye to a dear friend. Squeebohm, your monkey (who is made of rounded and irregular shapes) has accompanied you on this sorrowful voyage. You stand too close and through your sneakers your toes soak in the green water. The burning sphere of the sky is painting the green surface with thick gold stripes that stretch in long, late-afternoon angles. You would make from it a magnificent cloak, if only you could shear triangular patterns from the surface of the waves. Squeebohm is capering about the sand, oblivious to or defiant of the solemnity of the situation. He never was very adept at grasping the solemnity of situations. He responded only to happy times, happy people. You never suited each other much, you and Squeebohm. A more melancholy monkey (made of angular and regular shapes) is what you should have chosen.

Her ashes are divided into small glass tubes: three grams of disintegrated body per tube, eight tubes in total. You breathe deeply, trying to transport the salty sea smell to her, pretending for a moment that she’s curled up inside of you. Then fww-whht-whht, you fling the tubes one by one, or maybe all at once into the water. They plunk here. They plunk there. Outwardly flowing concentric rings mark their contact with the sea’s green skin. The rules of physics say they should float, but instead you watch them sink…down, down, down. Heavy with anguish they are, mass magnified by the elliptical injustice of her departure. Thus the little glass tubes win their density contest with the salt water. And in this shallow end of the ocean, they settle quickly to the sea floor. They settle near or around or behind the gilded mirror sitting upright in the sea floor sand. Squeebohm flings particulate masses in your face as you stare without seeing. Particles mix with spittle on your lips, chunking into ovoid forms. You spit vigorously. Dark Celtic music weaves widthwise, then lengthwise, through your head.

A long train ride preceded your arrival. The route serpented around low mountains and through their windy tunnels. The train’s large rectangular windows displayed magnificent vistas, but for you, everything was steeped in sorrow – and beauty was the saddest of all. Colours, however, seemed brighter after her death. You would have imagined a dullification, if by some freak turn of mind you had, pre-accident, pictured life in the aftermath of her leaving. After all, it is human tradition to drape one’s cloudy, ashen emotions over the external world in the wake of tragedy, so that the world, too, turns cloudy and ashen. Instead, out of the picture windows: lakes more teal; light more golden; roof tiles a jumping salmon-pink. Trapezoidal clusters of houses sat in valleys surrounded by green. Foliage highlighted the salmon-pink of their inverted V-shaped hats to such an extent that you salivated, feeling a vague urge to lick that warm terra-cotta colour. Squeebohm disrupted your reveries by knocking your black case to the car floor. He had been a nuisance the whole way. If you hadn’t been so lonely you would have left him at home. Luckily, the small glass tubes, fitted into black foam padding, remained in tact. But the latches to the case were broken, so you devised a temporary solution: blobs of used gum, collectively chewed by you and her. This stash had come on the voyage too, a sticky octahedron of nostalgia. It was only fitting.

Now, sporadic clouds outfit themselves in flecks of orange as you stare out to sea. You want to follow the tiny sinking tubes. You want to be trapped yourself in a large glass case, then submerged. You imagine your molecules cuddling up, squeezing together – denser and denser you grow, sinking to the floor. No wait! You want to be dead first. Just ashes, like her. In tiny tubes of your own. They can clink against each other, and the dust of you can smile at the dust of her. Suddenly, something snaps in your brain and your vision wiggles. There are now things in your line of vision, floating on the waves. You yell at the capering monkey and point.

“Can you see those?”

He only looks back at you, pointing, grinning. They look like transparent, geodesic domes. Big. And inside them… octopi. Large ones, mid-sized ones. Slurping their tentacles across the interiors of nested triangular glass. The sky goes entirely green and orange. Green swathes its zenith; orange smears the horizon.

And then…formings. A large bubble is taking shape around you. It is a faceted bubble, with hexagonal musings. Not the exact form you imagined, but you won’t complain. As soon as the last glass sides reach their last angles and seal their creases together, you reach your arms out to either side – right palm pressed against one facet and left against another – and rock your body so that the whole contraption can roll into the ocean. Hips swishing, head bobbing…your manic motions only burrow the bubble’s bottom into the sand. Squeebohm decides to help. It is the first, and probably the last time. He runs at the container and smacks into the flat of a side. You laugh at his grotesque expression, squashed face. He peels off as the enclosure begins rolling to the water’s edge with you rolling likewise inside. Smaller movements of folding in on yourself follow the larger movements of your glass shell. PLASH! No density struggle whatsoever. Your bones are denser, your anguish denser. Even the air within this bubble is particularly weighty, shipped in special from Mars as it was. Each Mars air molecule is parabolically denser than its earthly counterpart.

So it is that after a few minutes, you find yourself rolling among the sunken tubes of her powdery remains. Cylinders stick into the sand of the sea floor at varying angles. Triangles of varying hypotenuses are described. The composition looks artful, palpatingly majestic. Of course this is not just you projecting. You discover: it is possible to rotate your vessel through abrupt hip movements. Proceeding this way, you examine the surroundings at each degree of the three hundred and sixty. An assortment of seemingly random glass shapes add variety to the homogeneous arrangement of her tubes. Tiny sea monkeys are trapped in tiny glass sea-bubbles. Perfectly spherical. Celtic notes (spun into pearls by bored Irish oysters) are captured in smallish glass sea-squares. Beautiful little cubes. You mumble into your dense Mars-imported air, “Must be some kind of gathering place…a collection zone? Curiouser and curiouser!” There are larger entities here too. Imagine – two live seagulls trapped in mid-sized cones; three poor pelicans stoppered up in crystal tetrahedrons. The pelicans’ melancholy has sunk their cages so that they are half-way buried. They do not starve, but are forced to exist indefinitely in their tight spaces, eternally chewing their loss of freedom. You begin to feel claustrophobic.

“Think about the seagulls,” you tell yourself. They are much dumber, unable to grasp concepts like ‘freedom’ or ‘loss’ in a conscious way. They’re too busy trying to peck at each other, in any case. They bang their beaks against the glass each time, and who knows how long it’s been going on – for their beaks are extremely rounded and worn-down.

Continuing to rotate, you reach degree two hundred thirty-three. It is there. Its surface is tarnished, its shape is rectangular. It reflects finicky specks of light that flit from the surface or dance off glass shapes, creating a slow-mo disco feel. You push your bubble forward to get closer to the mirror. Inching closer, closer and closer…until the flat front surface of your shape aligns with the flat surface of the mirror. There is an outstretching of fingers (long and thin, tinged whitish-green) to the flat plane of shape-mirror alignment.

“Ever more curious!” Your fingers meet no resistance. They travel through the glass into the mirror. You decide to see what’s on the other side.

On the other side: an impossibly-defined shape. It sparkles, large and greenish-white, and seems to be the back of something. It is surrounded by shadowy geometry. Mathematical shadows (their formula innards writhing) glare at you darkly, clearly up to no good. On this side: you have lost your hexagonal escort. You breathe freely under the waves, as if through gills, although your cheeks are still solid pieces of flesh. On this side: someone is here. You sense it. The water is a stomach-turning mix of oranges and greens. You feel shrunken. You feel as if dropped into a child’s fishtank-turned-art-project – crinkly cellophane papering everything. When the murky equations clear away you see. She is here, alive. Here, in this parallel place. She sits on the sand, back against the impossibly-defined shape, her polka-dotted skirt spread out picturesquely. Little girls loll around her. Two loll over her lap, a few lay nearby, and all are sprawly, day-dreamy, with half-closed eyes. She is reading them a story. They are tuckered out from so much running, too much hopscotch; but they are glad to have their eyeballs in tact.

As she reads, a golden spiral winds from her mouth. Storybook words roll languorously along the looping path that is stretching slowly toward you. You catch the golden tape in your teeth as it rolls by, sending words tumbling, and she looks up.

“You’re here. I missed you so much. Everything was brighter and I don’t know why. I created a shape and followed your ashes into the sea.” You have begun to feel languid too, but still she senses the joyous relief in your voice. She doesn’t respond – only looks at you as she continues her recitation. Text from the large cartoon pages bubbles between her lips.

“Can you come back? Please come back through the mirror with me. I won’t ask for anything else as long as I live.” You see that she can see into your chest, where the question and promise form an eight-sided star.

Quick as hawks, the lounging girls shred their languor, jump up, and run at you with dark eyes glittering mischief. The large glass shape starts forming around you once more. Girls gang together, and giggling like maniacs, push, push, push your cage with stubby little fingers back through the mirror. Wisps of geometrical equations trail along. You pass by the place where her ash-filled tubes were stuck in the sand. They have disappeared. So have seagulls in cones, Celtic note-pearls in cubes. The disco feel is only slightly preserved by sluggish light flecks from the surface, moving on their own through the depth. Your insides feel empty as your container is rolled swiftly up toward the beach.

On the shore, the hexagonal shell disintegrates around you. Your retinas narrow into slim crescents to accommodate the unfiltered sun. Squeebohm is there, snickering at your bewildered expression; he is catching the hiccups from so much mirth. You look around. Time has not moved an inch. But something has changed. Things have finally lost their brightness – this is the greyest sunset you’ve ever seen. You carve a path through the air with your fingers walking up the shore back to the station. It feels like floating. After carrying so much density in your bones and breathing such heavy molecules, the flimsy nature of these bits of air baffles your senses. Squeebohm is hiccupping, capering after you as you make your way to the tracks. It is there that you collapse on a bench to wait for the rest of life to happen, without her.

~ by kingzoko on June 28, 2010.

leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: