An ode to the starsMature

all I can hear is the blood pounding in my veins, the adrenaline coursing through my body, much to small for the Herculean task before me. Well actually 500 meters before, if Sam is to be believed. I can't see, as usual at this part of the race my vision blurs, until Lucy is nothing but dots and streaks of color. My lungs have become obsolete, my back is what begins to take center stage as it screams for a slouch, for a break. I refuse it's demands, the coaches have always said this sport is about learning what your body is capable of. Or not capable of. My thoughts struggle to think of the prize that is rest, I focus harder than I should and pull what I can out of a depleted body. A hangover is never good to prepare for a race. At last Sam calls to the last ten strokes. I hear out newest recruit Ashley gasp/hiccup/sob but she is in back of me, so it doesn’t matter. Finish. The oars slap the water, together as one. Then, silence.

Sam doesn’t speak, she knows better than to talk us. Eventually the sounds of metal water bottles slapping fiberglass and puffs of inhalers and whisper's of "we did well" litter the boat. I stay quiet, my sisterhood had forsaken me a week earlier. It was a thing I had noticed on every team, cliques where closer than families; not entirely selective in their choosing. These girls, did not take betrayal well, they held loyalty to the highest esteem. Something I had taught them.

We made the agonizing trip to the dock, and a more painful trip to our trailer's where our coaches greeted us with the announcement of victory. The girls squealed. I kept my face indifferent and stony, claimed I had somewhere to be and fled. I wasn't even past the muddy parking lot's when the pills came out.

It started as harmless fun, a little vodka a little gin. Until the summer we had moved onto bigger guns, each of us losing a part of ourselves along the way. First came the booze, then the weed, then the narcotics. And that my friend, was the sweet spot. I didn't care what they where, antidepressants, prescription pain killers I had even gotten my hands on some very good heart medication. I had tried other things, cocaine and meth, but both where too expensive and didn't give me the lows I now so desperately craved. Why would one want the false pretense of happiness, when you could revel in absolute truth? This wasn't the Disney channel, and I wasn't into pretending it was. I stumbled through the path, to the dingy shithole I know called home. I was finishing out the season with the crew team, then packing up and moving on. I don't know where but this girl knows when she isn't wanted.

Lost in thoughts of hearts and decay I looked at the river, now orange from the sunset. I thought. Not thought. Felt. I felt it pulling me in; the river called out for me to give the ultimate sacrifice. For the complete release. My brain now clouded with hydrocortisone (sp?) and depression. I felt myself giving in. I wanted myself to succumb to death's breathtaking allure, no one wanted me here anyway. I could wander the earth as a ghost, free of lingering ties to this distasteful planet. I took a step toward the water, and another and another. River algae was know lapping at my converse. I thought no felt. I took a step in, the wind picked up, maybe I would freeze before I drowned. I looked at the sunset. It was pretty, but I had seen enough of them that it would burn in my memory for eternity. The sky was a bloody red now. I took three more steps. The water was up to my hips. The river kept urging. It demanded a sacrifice, it demanded my filthy, moth bitten body. Touched by more than I would admit too and surrendered to any substance known to man. Renounced by her scum infested family, with a worthless mother, a godless brother and a ghost of a father. That was enough to take three more steps. I was at my neck, and freezing. I stood there, in a silent protest to the soft current whispering pleading, for blood. It was twilight, and my feet where dead, the darkness was creeping through my bones hiding in my veins, easing my heart to sleep with thoughts of rest. I dove under water.

My first reaction was adrenaline, I stuck my head up one last time, an ode to the stars. And retreated into the infinite blackness, I let myself sink, let my lungs wither and die. Eventually instinct forced my lips to part, and become one with the river. My blood became tainted water, my cells became the endless bacteria that line the water and urge the sea. I could see the stars, even when I closed my eyes I saw the stars. The fight in my body dulled, and I eased into comfortable numbness. I felt myself dying, it was the strangest sensation, like stitches breaking as I came apart from my shell. I surrendered myself to it, letting fate and the afterlife take it’s course. I held onto the belief that anything was better than this, this need.

The first thing I noticed was freedom. But from what? I wondered, I had this sudden sensation there was something I was supposed to remember. But I just floated there, in the river like an idiot. I didn't feel anything, the water didn't seem to register, I didn't breathe. "I'm a ghost" the thought filling me with dread. But after a few moments I forgot what a ghost was. I looked at the girl at the bottom of the river. Her body was almost entirely covered in seaweed, but her eyes where wide open. She looked...desperate. I felt bad for the girl, but wondered why I was staring at her. But she captivated me, I wanted to know her…story. But what would a girl be doing at the bottom of a river?

From a serendipitous glance I noticed my arms were stubs "How particular!" I thought, for I had never noticed I even had.......whatever the things at my sides where. Something was bugging me about the girl, more than pity. She looked fairly tragic, but it felt like I needed to remember something, something important. But the harder I tried the faster it seemed to slip away from me, what was a girl anyway?

I tried to leave, because now its expression was bothering me. But I realized I couldn't. I didn't even have a shell, or an appearance. Just a........I think it was an s word? Sex? Salvia? Sin? That last one sounded close, but not right. Had I always been here? I thought But where was here? I looked upward, strange twinkling lights burned in infinite blackness. I wondered and though for now I could not feel. Whether it was seconds or century’s I would never know but everything became silence a void almost. I had never experienced anything like it, the emptiness. But only after a few minute‘s did I begin to forget what on earth anything sounded like. And darkness came for me as well, devouring my eyes and clearing out the mind. Images of people floated by, I didn’t know them, or at least I didn’t think I did. But one word burned in my mind as if that word was the most important thing in the universe, as if it held to key to something, something incredibly important

Freedom.

The End

2 comments about this story Feed