You know deep down, that whether you like it or not, you will always belong to the sea. You are even standing there now, letting the waves tickle your toes. You sigh, close your eyes, and smile. It all comes rushing back; submerging your head underwater and listening to the peaceful silence beneath it, hearing the waves roar and crash upon the shore, a salty scent hanging in the humid, yet windy air. There is noise in the background; people’s happy outcries, seagulls jeering from above, your own footsteps crushing the damp sand. Thousands of sights and sounds and smells, happening one moment, then gone in the blink of an eye.
You exhale, open your eyes, and are drawn back to the present. The waves are still brushing against your feet, and your toes squirm against the cold water as you remember your mother’s words: “You are a daughter of the sea. You can never escape it. It is who you are, and it is how you will find yourself.” The sun beams brightly onto your face, making you squint whilst you look at the beauty around you. You step back slightly, sinking your feet into the soaked sand, separating yourself and the water.
No, you think, the sea is no longer a part of you. Still, it somehow pains you to disconnect yourself from it. It hurts you even more to think of all you experienced in the course of two years. It was many years ago, but you still find it sneaking up on you at times. It seems to surprise you that the world could be so cruel, but then, you realize, it has always been so. Death is something you have little experience with, and the death of your grandparents had more of an effect on your father than you.
That’s where it all began, you remind yourself. They passed on, quickly, one after the other, like two birds flying away together. You can handle the grief, but it is too much for him. The memories destroy him. He crushes faster than the sand grains beneath your feet. He falls, slowly, slowly, slowly, until you and your mother know that he is lost in a deep abyss, one only he can climb out of.
Then, you remember, he gets the job offer. You are blinded by the spark of simultaneous joy and madness that glimmers in his eye as he tells you about it. You fake excitement and enthusiasm and sense your mother doing the same. It is the first time he has been this happy about something in months. You and your mother wave when he leaves, for the job is an ocean away, and you listen to his promises to call every day and promise to do so as well. You know your life will never be the same.
Your mother, you recall, was truly floundering. It was far from simple to carry the weight of the world on her own two shoulders. Her daughter belongs to the sea, but she belongs to the wind. She flies from place to place, whooshing everywhere she goes, just so she can do everything quickly, wasting as little time as possible. She scoffs at those who fritter, and she laughs when you do too, or sometimes, she scolds. It causes arguments, heated debates that end in cold silences.
But even so, you smile gently, you adapted. You persevered and fought, you smiled and sobbed, you worked hard and slacked off, you did everything a human being could possibly do in the course of two years and here you are now: back at the sea, watching the results unfold. You survived.
You laugh at your own fears and ignore the voice telling you not to do it; you step into the sea, wading in knee-deep. You thread your fingers through the saltwater and make a fist as though to clutch it. You inhale the air around you, for nothing could ever be as tranquil as this moment, and you submerge, just as you have done thousands of times before. You open your eyes, disregarding the sting that comes with it, and look around you. The water is a light turquoise, though slightly murky, so you try to imagine what it would look like with bright, vivid sea creatures.
You close your eyes and open them again quickly, and they surround you. They are blue with white stripes, bright orange, yellow and black; your imagination is working wonders just to give you this moment. Still, even the most brilliant of imaginations cannot escape reality, so you rise up, withdrawing yourself from the life your mind has created for you, and gasp heavily as air returns to your lungs.
“Oh, my God! You - are you okay?!” Someone yells, panic dripping from their deep voice. You turn around and see him, a tall, young man who you can hardly register through your blurry eyesight; you left your glasses on the shore.
“I’m so sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” You dash back onto the shore, feeling the dry sand start to cover your wet feet.
“Do have a habit of sitting underwater for two minutes straight?” The boy asks. “I literally thought you were drowning.” You study him before answering; he seems somewhat amused by your quirks and has a certain air about him that you can only describe as ‘mischievous.’
“No, but my mother always says that I’m a daughter of the sea,” you reply with a smile. You can’t quite place it; but there is something familiar about this boy, a sense of comfort and security that you haven’t felt in a long time. As cliche as it sounds, he reminds you of home.
“Is that so?” He asks grinningly. “Mine always says I’m made of fire.”
You become friends with this boy, this boy who thought you were drowning and nearly had a heart attack because of it. Truthfully, you admit, you were drowning, just not literally. You were drowning in regret and fear, and he somehow seemed to pluck you up like a daisy and guide you away from it without even trying.
You soon learned that his mother was right; he was made of fire. His entire soul roared with flames, his eyes burst with sparks, and his passions were just as fiery as he was. It made sense that you diffused him at times, being made of water yourself, and it also made sense that he livened you, making you expressive about matters you hadn’t been aware of before.
One day, several years later, you return to the sea. You take a deep breath, the salty air flowing through your hair, and step forward into the water. You sigh, close your eyes, and smile. It all comes rushing back; this time it is him you think of, along your parents. This time, instead of fearing the ocean, you thank it. For without it, how else would you have had that fateful conversation with your soulmate, the living, breathing, person who has shown you what it means to love another with all your heart? You remember your mother’s words: “You are a daughter of the sea. You can never escape it. It is who you are, and it is how you will find yourself.” You open your eyes.
She was right, you conclude. You met due to a miscommunication that led to a simple conversation. Still, you found him, and in finding him, you found yourself.
Lover of women and men. Pioneer. Feminist. I admire you so. Sorry to stir you but I need to know:
Was your greatness innate, did talent burn from those fingers to singe the paper
Was it born from the grind of late nights, sore eyes, crumpled up words laid waste in metal bins, never-quite-right hard editing? Did you sometimes feel like you were never enough? Perhaps that’s why...
Are you at rest somewhere beyond or have I roused your tangled soul from the depths of the River Ouse where you held your breath to death? To drown yourself is a dogged suicide – complex, steadfast – and if you had known that your loved ones would search for you for three weeks, your body swept away with the current, would you have chosen a different method? It is said that writers are twice as likely to commit suicide and poets have a rate of bipolar depression 30 times greater than the general population....but I digress.
It’s a pleasure to meet you.
#flashfiction #suicide #virginiawoolf #writing
Musk began, "Plato's Republic is brilliant insofar as it justifies our need for the leaders of a society to be philosophers - that is, academics, intellectuals, scholars. It is the year 2018, our world is more interconnected than ever, and our rulers are not individual people, but legal entities, multinational corporations - what Plato would call the 'merchant class' - hegemonically stifling our collective evolution. This is one problem that Plato did not entirely foresee. A solution, and opportunity, lies in technology."
"What are you envisioning?" I interrupted.
Musk paused and took another sip. "Educational technology. Socrates, would you agree?"
"I would," he replied.
"Plato, you were right to infer that education is the x-factor, if we will, in succeeding at society, you might say," Musk continued. "Technology may as well be the y-factor, so to speak. In the year 2018, we share images and sounds at the speed of light itself, and this bears massive, positive implications for education - yet we have not capitalized."
"What sort of educational technology do you have in mind?" Pythagoras asked.
"I envision a universal, global academy that effectively leverages information technology to maximize learning everywhere, all municipalities, all countries, all disciplines."
We all kept listening.
They call me Death
I am the Reaper,
they call me Death.
Some call me a Monster,
ready to pounce.
Their fear of the Unknown,
laughable when in the Sun.
But in the dark when truth arises,
they cry and scheme,
writing their wills.
Some live their life in fear of me,
hiding in false security.
They daren’t try anything,
lest I should arrive at their back door
They say I crouch awaiting,
sapping joy and hope from all.
But really, I’m the truth itself,
a grim reminder of temporarilty.
I am the Reaper,
they call me death.
Won’t they love me so much more,
if they lived and loved with no regrets?
A one-sided conversation.
You, little kicker.
You're the person I most want to meet.
So, don't take this the wrong way, but:
... GET ...OUT!
I never heard much about you, really. Just a brief muttering of your name every now and again at family reunions, hushed whispers as I walked past. I was told I looked like you, yet I've never seen a picture. You were either a hero who was brutally murdered or a coward who found an easy way out, and I have no idea which side of the fence I stand on. They told me about your ex-wife, about the gunshot wound you suffered to the head. The irreperable damage it did on an entire family. Greg, I want to know you. Please tell me the truth.
Things You Need to Know
Woman: "You feel isolated, afraid, alone, abandoned, ashamed, but please believe: you are important. You are valued. You are loved. You are remembered."
Little girl: "I feel insignificant, and never good enough, but I don't have the words to explain it, and I don't think anyone would listen. Even if they listened, I don't think they would hear. No one would understand."
Woman: "You are significant. You are worthwhile. You are a quality individual. You are safe. You are cared for."
Little girl: "Everybody loves babies and toddlers, but the older I get, the less people are interested in me."
Woman: "That may feel true, but it isn't. People just don't know how to relate. Let their insecurities be their own, don't make them yours. Believe in yourself, believe in your future, trust your own judgement."
Little girl: "It feels as though society has passed their judgement on me."
Woman: "It does feel like that. And many people have done just that. But for every person who has judged you harshly, there is another who thinks highly of you. Unfortunately the hateful folks are generally the louder. You will discover later in life, there are dozens who hold you in high esteem, who speak well of you, and are fighting for you."
Little girl: "How do you know this?"
Woman: "Because you grew up to be me."
As I sat down on the couch, the blonde bombshell kicked off her heels and began to pour us drink. She looked dead tired, collapsing into the couch with drinks in hand as I began my interview.
"May I call you Ms. Monroe, or would you prefer Marilyn?" I asked.
She smiled, a white toothed grin that was molded for the silver screen. Sadness seeped from her eyes. "I would prefer neither, honestly, but call me whatever you'd like."
I smiled back, accepting the drink she offered. "Yes, ma'am." I said, raising the glass to her. She giggled. I began.
"First question- why did you move to Hollywood-"
She shuffled around in the seat next to me, almost spilling her drink as she made herself comfortable.
"-And what was the hardest part of moving here? Did it ever make you want to give up and go back home?"
She sighed, staring into space, swallowed by the couch corner she occupied.
"I had nothing in Los Angeles except for a stutter. I moved here because I wanted to be an actress since I was five years old. The world was horrible, so I always looked forward to going to the theatre so I could escape for a while. I sat right at the front, this little girl, staring at the screen so big. I was so alone. But I loved it. I still do. Hell, I died for it."
She watched as I scribbled down her answers. She looked like a child, her big eyes following my pen.
I asked another. "What was the hardest part of your career, up until your death?"
She sighed yet again, her eyes dull. These questions never came easy.
"I think the hardest part was knowing I would play the ditzy blonde again. No one knew how smart I was because they would never let me. I was a sex symbol, and I had to play dumb."
"Why did you keep accepting the roles? Why didn't you show everyone how smart you really were?"
She shook her head. "I was willing to do anything to accomplish my dream, even if that meant losing everything. I thought that if I played dumb, things would come easier. They didn't get easier, but it never hurt to try."
Gulping down mouthfuls of drink, she closed her eyes. I drank some too, the liquid burning my throat.
We sat in silence for a while, accepting the company of one another as a comfort of sorts. As the night grew darker, and as we continued pouring drinks until we emptied bottle after bottle, I grew more confident and personal with my questions to the dead actress.
"Did you know everyone still remembers you? Your grave is covered in lipstick kisses, your face is on shirts. They write books about you and make movies about you and dance around your cement handprints."
She stared. "Why would they do that?"
I laughed. "You were famous. You still are. We love you more and more every day. I am the luckiest person alive, because I'm able to talk to you. People would kill to be me. You rose against every obstacle, made a name for yourself, and you died a legend. We are still reeling over your death. You died so young."
I began to cry. She was only 36.
"Why did you die? Why?"
She wrapped her arms around me as I continued to cry, sobbing into her shoulder.
"You were my hero, Norma."
At the sound of that name, her breath hitched. "No one's called me Norma since I was a little girl." Five year old Norma Jeane wanted to be a movie star. She began to cry. We both sat on her couch, holding each other as we sobbed into empty whiskey bottles.
My time came to leave, to go back into my world and leave her here, wherever this was.
As we said goodbye, and as I thanked her for the interview and the numerous drinks, I asked her one more question.
"Would you rather be called Ms. Monroe, or Marilyn?"
She smiled, a true smile that beamed to the heavens above.
"Call me Norma."
What really happened on the boat?
Q: Thank you for taking the time.
A: Get to it.
Q: All Right? That night on the boat, did you go to bed before they started fighting?
A: I really dont want to discuss this.
Q: You agreed to this interview. People that want to know.
A: Things were getting heated. It was a little rowdy. There was a bottle broken. I went to bed.
Q: How drunk were you?
A: I was ready to go to bed.
Q: Did you hear them fighting after you went to bed?
Q: Were they fighting about you?
Q: Were you in love with her?
A: Everybody was in love with her. The World was in love with her. The only person that wasn't in love with her, was her.
Q: Were you lovers?
A: I won't answer that.
Q: So, you were.
A: I Won't Answer That.
Q: Do you believe his story?
A: Do You believe his story?
A: There you have it.
Q: Do you think he killed her?
A: I don't think he tried to save her.
Q: Did you help cover it up?
A: I answered all questions that I was able to answer.
Q: Do you miss her?
A: Can you really miss someone that is never really gone? Someone that is immortalized on the screen? Someone who will always stay young and beautiful and who will be introduced to countless generations, even after her death?
Yes, I miss her.
I'm done now.
And I am tired, you disappoint me, tirelessly
Aching, like the ungreased nuts and bolts and gears
Of an old machine, creaking and waning
Like the heart you so desire
As you say so
i am tired of
your accusatory stupor
And I’m tired of your belligerent sobriety
When you flail your arms
And your face begins to droop
so whatever do i do,
to please your unpleasable fiend
So stay away from me,
Your touch remains toxic
but all I want to be, is the care
of which you have forgotten
And all I wish
Is for you to exist
And you cannot whisper the things
That the elegant gale of the night does
When I am laying volatile
for the first time
i am sorry