Drowning | Krystal Koski

I am enveloped by a comforter as I lay myself to rest. As I turn to my side, my mass slosh to one side like liquid, leaving part of me empty and vulnerable. I am chained to the Earth by the weight of my fluid insides, I cannot move. The empty portion of myself is exposed; I feel it dissipate as I beg myself to enter the dreamscape, the idyllic place where nothing happens and the world no longer exists. Only half of me remains in my skin, only half is trapped in the ongoing cycle of living. The half of me that ascended looks down upon myself, disgusted with the figure crunched in the fetal position. She notices the chunks of flesh missing from the bottom of my feet. She tells me it’s unbecoming; I say I know, doing nothing to put a stop to my anxious habit. She points to the scar on my left knee, accosting me for being too petrified of needles to get the injury stitched up. I agree with her. 

I yearn for the release of sleep. As the occupant of a body, I am berated with the obligations of a day until I can no longer stand it. The cycle starts again the next day. My body is engaged in a constant war with myself; I cannot rest until I have contributed enough to a day to justify this infinite existence. I cannot stay afloat, yet I persist. It will be easier to succumb to the inevitable and sink, but instinct continues to fight. 

Sleep is drowning — I thrust my hands above the surface and spread my fingers apart as if reaching for something that isn’t there. My body gives a sigh of relief as I fall to a sandy bottom, I do the same. Drifting slowly to my demise is when I am my most elegant — my hair frames my face delicately as it follows my body like an anchor; my limp wrists are wrapped in the arms of the sun, as relaxed as a retiree lounging in her sunroom as she observes her garden. I let the natural forces take control of my body, and it is then when I can finally live. 

When I reach the sandy floor there is nothing. It is not a menacing nothing, but rather a stagnant nothing; I am not perturbed nor invited. I remain motionless. Slowly, sand wraps around my ankles like fingers snaking up and down my legs. I am unaccompanied, excluding the pressure of the water surrounding me. The boundary between my skin and liquid becomes blurrier as time passes. I have no attachment to the body that is stuck in the sand — I practically beg for it to disappear. Nothing else occurs; I tell the water to dissolve me so I can rid myself of the body I have been chained to for eternity — the body I disrespect via malnutrition and biting hangnails. My request is granted and she wraps herself around my body. The pressure grows as she tightens her grip around me. I am at the center of the water plume, and the speed and pressure of the water scrubs me from the body I so desperately want to be severed from. I shut my eyes, preparing for the end of all as I know, to finally live free of the burden of bodies, yearning to become one with uncontrollable tides and bide my time idly ebbing and flowing. Everything is silent. 

When I open my eyes I see myself lying in my bed. I am the criticizer — I can still see the chunks of missing skin that populate the body. The body sleeps, fully submerged in the purity of the depths, but it is rising to the surface. The water laps at the feet to remind it that there is no forever in the water — you get rescued every night. The body is powerless to the forces that govern it and utterly alone. I have no control. 

Sleep never seems to cure the mind tainted by the decaying day before. The cycle never stops, everything is always moving. My body stands and I am once again trapped. It is my body against schedules, and it is fighting alone. The only comfort the body ever receives is the weight of another atop it; otherwise, it is left to evaporate into the night air. Bodies fit together like puzzle pieces, somehow. The awkward limbs tuck into one another seamlessly until each and every inch of skin is protected against the outside — disproportionality does not exist in body physics. Lips can graze the back of a head and tie the person to the body, it can provide the relief of drowning in the depths without plunging to death. But there is only one body here. 

My eyes creep open in response to the morning light sneaking through my cheap blinds. The rustling of my brings me to consciousness, as I move about he flinches, thinking my stirring is indicative of his feeding time. The alarm is still ringing, my body reaches to silence it. I am back within, there are things to be done. It is time to fight once again. I am rooted in my body. I am stuck until water devours me once more, leaving me devoid of inadequacy that I free myself from in the only space where nothing exists and nothing matters. Tonight I will be water and tomorrow I will try again.

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