Floating

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
An experience of floating away from your own body. Would it really be such a pleasant experience?

Submitted: June 05, 2016

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Submitted: June 05, 2016

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Floating.

 

 

I lay here, flat on my back. I am completely still except for the in and out movement of breathing. There is a heaviness to me. I feel as though I have been covered in a thick layer of concrete which has dried to weigh me down. I don't think I could move even if I wanted to.

 

Turning my head is too much effort. My neck feels as if it is made from lead - a lead pipe leading up to my chin. It would not move, no matter how hard I strain against the inertia. I am stuck, staring upwards. There is nothing to see above me except a plain white ceiling. It is light but I cannot see where the light is coming from.

 

I can sort of move my fingers and my toes. Just a kind of wiggle, a slight flex. But as I lay here even that becomes too much of a struggle. I might as well give in to the feeling that I am too heavy to exist in the world and let the stillness engulf me.

 

I close my eyes and sink into a silent blackness.

***********

 

Time passes by but I do not know how much. In this state I have no way of telling. No sounds. No smells. No sight. No feelings. It is almost as though I have ceased to exist but still I breathe. In, out, in out.

 

And then something changes. I feel light, feather light. It is as if my body can no longer contain me. My anchor has lifted and I am floating. I can turn my head. I can move my arms and legs. I can swim through the air and see all around me.

 

I see a body laying below me and I know it is my own. Am I dead? I glide downwards and can easily see myself breathing steadily. Not dead then, but maybe in a coma. If so, why? I was fine when I laid down. No sickness, no fever, no accident or trauma.

 

I can clearly see myself. Every flaw. And I don't really like what I see. My face is placid, relaxed, my eyelashes resting on my upper cheeks. I am not frowning but I can clearly see the frown lines. I must make a note to relax a bit, or at least to be more consistent with the moisturiser, otherwise I will give myself premature wrinkles.

 

I don't think I look really fat but perhaps a bit on the chubby side. Thighs are ugly when you lay flat out, like dough that has been thrown down onto a worktop. Then you get to the kneecaps that lift up in little mounds, back down to shins then to these stupid feet that stick up from skinny ankles.

 

I let my eyes travel back up but wish that I hadn't. Laying flat makes you look wider than you really are, I hope. Arms straight at my sides, making me look like I am rigidly standing to attention. As with feet, hands look odd spreading out from bony wrists. Long, thin fingers looking rather like bird's feet. My hands strike me as being exceedingly ugly.

 

My hair is shoulder length, a nondescript colour. If I had to describe it I'd say light brown. Looks like it could do with a wash. It falls away from my face to spread in tendril-like strands on the pillow.

 

Nothing special about the clothes. An old washed out red sweatshirt that has a faded and cracked motif on it. It is too damaged for me to make out any letters and I have had it so long I no longer remember what it said originally. Black tracksuit trousers, again washed out to become more of a dark grey. Frequent wear and leg bending has made them baggy and a bit worn around the knee.

 

I had been too tired to get changed, either that or I just couldn't be bothered. I had just crashed out on the top of my duvet. I could never have imagined that I, or indeed anyone else, would be looking at me. If I had known would I have made more of an effort. Put on a touch of make up, brushed my hair? Honestly, I doubt it.

 

**********

 

I have had enough of inspecting myself and seeing all my short-comings. I scan the room instead and find that I can float around it quite easily. In fact I can move both up and down as well as side to side.

 

Perhaps the most striking thing is the mess. Clothes and books tossed anywhere and everywhere, the odd shoe laying around. There is not much furniture in my room, very few flat surfaces to put anything on. That's only an excuse though; I've just never been one for orderly neatness, preferring the lived in look at least for my own piece of space.

 

I do a pretty good job of keeping it clean though. I am surprised how little dust I can see except on the highest and least accessible surfaces. I go to move my curtains back but I cannot grasp the material. It slips through my fingers, or rather my fingers slip through it. It is as though I am a ghost but how can that be so when I can clearly see that I am still alive.

 

If material doesn't hinder my passage, how about walls?

I glide over to the door. It is shut and I have no way of opening it as the handle refuses to be grasped. Bracing myself for the impact I move towards it and with absolutely no sensation, I pass through the door to find myself floating in the hallway.

 

**********

 

Feeling guilty but unable to resist the temptation I float into the two other bedrooms. My parents are both sound asleep, both turned away from each other. Dad looks quite peaceful, less stressed than when he is awake. From the blank, relaxed expression I guess that he is in a deep sleep not a dreaming one. My mum, on the other hand, is definitely dreaming. I stay and watch a whole range of expressions flicker across her face. Her lips move but I cannot hear what she says. In a way I feel like it is an intrusion of privacy watching her dream. I do not linger for long.

 

My brother is thirteen, two years younger than me. Should I take a peek in his room? I'm not usually very welcome in there but he won't know and I won't tell.

 

I had expected darkness but in here it is quite light. The television is on and although there are no images on it it is giving off a blue light. The X box controller on the pillow is a bit of a give-away. Mum and Dad would not approve but Joe's secret is safe with me. It's really not that bad in here, probably no more untidy than my own room. Instead of books, he's got games boxes and magazines littering every available space. Not a lot of clothes laying around either except those that he should have put in the laundry basket.

 

After a short while I want to leave. I don't like the sensation of snooping around, not that I think he has any secrets yet but still I am uncomfortable. Just as I decide to leave, Joe flings out an arm and turns over. I want to hold my breath but my breathing self is not here but back on her own bed. Can he see me? He doesn't say a word and when I move closer to him I can see his eyelids flickering in a dream sleep.

 

I move on out of his room, into the hallway and through the closed window next to the stairs.

 

**********

 

I find myself in the garden. The house walls are no barrier to me then. It is an extremely odd sensation to find myself floating above the garden path rather than walking on its surface. It is even odder to find myself passing straight through the fence into our neighbour's garden.

 

These neighbours have never been very friendly to us. In fact the friendliest one of them is outside in a kennel, a large German Shepherd named Otto. Usually if anyone goes near the garden he is barking but I can hear no sound from him now.

 

I approach the kennel and look inside. He is laying there asleep but as I stand there he opens one eye. Otto is staring right at me but doesn't seem to see me; there is no wag of the tail or lick of the hand. It is as though he senses something but doesn't know it is me.

 

I try to call his name. "Otto." The words form in my mouth but no sound emerges from between my lips, not even a whisper. The dog senses something though. He pricks up his ears and looks very alert, still not barking but making a muffled noise in his throat.

 

Perhaps I am tormenting him by 'being there but not there'. I move off towards the house but he does not follow. The temptation to go in and investigate the house is really strong. But maybe I wouldn't be able to enter anyway. I reach out towards the door and my hand passes straight through it. It would be so easy for me to go inside but I don't do it. I feel like I would be invading their privacy; breaking and entering really, but without the breaking. No, I won't do it. I withdraw my hand and move off down the street.

 

**********

 

I do not know how far I can travel away from my body. Am I really still breathing or am I what would be called a ghost? Should I return to my room and check my body for the steady rise and fall that comes with breathing?

 

For now I will carry on my exploration. I do not have to dodge lamp posts, bins, or even parked vehicles. It is so late at night that there are not many people on the street. I could probably pass through those that are out but I think that would just be too weird. What if I passed through into someone and then couldn't get out again? I would be stuck sharing someone else's body.

 

I am careful of the moving traffic too. If doors and walls can't touch me the chances are that a speeding car wouldn't either. But supposing that assumption is wrong. I could be left shattered in the street while my breathing body remains in my bed. I could remain in an everlasting coma. Best to be safe and cross roads carefully.

 

My favourite clothes store is beckoning me onwards. The opportunity to browse through the stock with no one hindering me is just too great to resist. I pass through the plate glass windows easily, not feeling a thing. There are rails and rails of clothes but I had not thought about how I would browse through them. My hands just pass through the fabric, so I have no way of rifling through the garments where they hang. I am itching to try some to see how they fit; but I have no body to wear them on and have no reflection anyway.

 

This was a bad idea that has made me feel depressed for the first time. What will it be like if I am stuck existing like this forever? No way to feel anything, taste anything, interact with anything in any way!

 

I suddenly want to return to my body, to get back inside my shell of skin and start living again. There is just one more thing that I really want to try first though and that is to fly!

 

**********

 

I don't want to fly over things as if I was a bird or in a plane. I want to fly upwards, like a rocket launching in to space. How to start though. My feet cannot make contact with the ground so I cannot get an initial thrust of momentum. My hands will not grip anything so I cannot achieve it by pulling.

 

Instead I just picture it, a journey up towards the night sky and I am doing it. Lifting up, way up high. I am reaching rooftops, over chimneys, up in amongst the clouds. Still I let myself keep lifting higher and higher. I don't look down until I stop.

 

Below me I can see so much. Rivers, roads, tiny specks of houses. I can even make out the sea in the distance; and in the opposite direction, a forest.

 

It is all too much. I have gone too high and I am feeling sick. Can I feel sick without a body? Apparently, yes. And I dread falling back to earth. I start to panic.

And then the downward spiral starts.

 

It is just a gentle twirling to begin with, but the turning and twisting gets faster and faster. I am no longer aware of what is up or down, just this speeding motion that is carrying me along. This journey that I have absolutely no control over.

 

**********

 

It is all spinning so fast beneath me but I can make out buildings now, houses and roads rapidly approaching. I am silently screaming inside my own head, bracing myself for the impact without having anything to brace.

 

The roof below me is unavoidable but there is no impact, no force of collision. I just float on down straight through it, drop through the loft and then pass through the ceiling.

And I land back on my bed in a jolt so hard that my body lifts from the mattress for a split second. I am home, back inside my outer shell. I can open my eyes. I can move my fingers and wiggle my toes. I can stand up, I can walk around and I can talk.

 

And even now the memory of floating is fading away, and within minutes will be forgotten.

 

********************

 

 

 

 


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