Skimming the Surface

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
The story of a man and a shark.

Submitted: April 11, 2010

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Submitted: April 11, 2010

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I’m drowning in my memories; conceptually I can’t breathe. Or did I mean figuratively I can’t breathe? No, I meant literally I can’t breathe.
“Oh my God, DOCTOR, He isn’t breathing again!” screams the nurse.
The doctor runs in as soon as I out swim my memories and I start to breathe again.
“Didn’t I tell you not to bother me with this shit anymore? We’ve been over this a thousand times, if he dies, he dies. He’s been laying there for two weeks not responding to anything we do. I’m sick of this, we’ve ran all the tests, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this man. The sooner that damn psychiatrist gets him out of here the better.”
“I know, I know, it’s just I can’t help myself from looking into his eyes. I can see that he’s thinking, and this isn’t a coma. He belongs in an institution not this hospital,” says the nurse, “why is the psychiatrist taking so long in determining that? All you have to do is look in those eyes.”
The nurse reminds me of someone I used to be able to remember. What I mean is, the nurse reminds me of someone who use to be in my life; I think. That’s pretty much all I do actually; think. I see the nurse and I see the doctor and the psychiatrist occasionally, but I know they aren’t real. My memories are real, my thoughts are real, Sarah was real. When you think in your head what voice do you hear? I feel like most people hear their own voice; I hear Sarah’s. As I let my mind flood with the thoughts and memories of Sarah, the window of the nurse and doctor shrinks as if I’m moving miles and miles away. I can still see them, but it’s as if I’m looking at them from the reverse side of a magnifying glass. They’re insignificant for now; I re-focus and look around to see where I am. I see my best friend when I was 13, my first dog, my 3rd grade teacher, my first crush, my father, and of course Sarah. I'm here again; I live here. Sarah's floating about 20 feet to my left and my dog is about 5 feet in front of me. I contemplate floating over to my dog but I feel myself being reeled in by Sarah. My mom always used to say, "be careful of girls with fishing rods." Wait no she didn't, she's saying that right now… I guess she's floating around in here somewhere too.
As she reels me in, everything about her-everything about us- begins to trickle through. I see the bus stop where we met, we’re both standing waiting for bus number 51. Fate places us side-by-side on the bus and we begin to talk as if we’re old friends. We talk about her job, my haircut, existentialism, her new shoes. It was wonderful, my stop comes up, we exchange numbers and the scene disappears as Sarah struggles to reel me in faster. I see her in a beautiful white dress, she looks so young. Her smile is so big, her family is so happy, everyone is so happy. We are meant for each other, we hold hands at the alter; this moment exists forever. Faster. I see the house we bought together, our dog chases a squirrel up the tallest tree in our backyard. Sarah looks older now, that smile seems slightly faded. The dog barks and Sarah sits alone at the dining room table. I sit alone at the kitchen table. Something’s different in this scene, something’s missing. As fast as these images appeared they’re gone, and I know I am very close to Sarah now. But something goes wrong, she's struggling more than ever, the boat rocks, the line snaps and I'm sinking back into oblivion. I see the magnifying glass turning over, I see the doctor, and I see the psychiatrist. I’m back in my unreality.
“Well Doc, you’ll be glad to hear I’ve finally gotten clearance to take this guy outta here and over to the Psychiatric hospital over in Clearwater,” says the psychiatrist, “he’s all ready to go right?”
“Great news, great news. Yeah he’s ready just uh…you guys are going to keep those straps on him right?” he laughs, “I’m just worried this lunatic has been waiting this whole time for the right moment to strike.”
I am not a lunatic.
“Of course we’re going to keep the god damn straps on him,” he turns to me, “you ready to go bud? Come on let’s go, the door’s right here. What’s the matter, you don’t want to leave? What if I told you Sarah was waiting for you outside?”
My eye twitches and as the cliché would have it, two big guys in white suits pick me up and strap me down on a stretcher. It’s raining as they put me in the ambulance. I let the rain drip into my mind. It swishes around all the memories and I dive back into my thoughts. I look around and see Sarah on her little boat. She doesn’t see me this time so I decide to try and swim through the sea of useless memories to her. The only important memories are with her. I’m close to her now and I’m swimming through our first fight, the night her mother died, the time our dog ran away. I can make it past these memories, bad things always happen in even the best relationships. I’m about 3 feet from the boat when the memories begin to get overwhelmingly thick, I can’t swim any further. There’s something stopping me from pushing out these last few feet, I look around at the memories I’m immersed in; they’re unclear, foggy. I can’t even see my body beneath the memories. I’m stuck; something’s missing. Something brushes past my feet as I re-focus and see the psychiatrist and myself in a medium-sized room.
“So, are you feeling any better?” he’s taunting me, “so how long are you going to keep this charade up?” he un-straps me, he’s testing me. “I know what you’re trying to do here you little freak. Playing the dementia card to get out of going to jail…I’ve seen this done about a million times before, but let me just tell you, you’re the best actor so far.”
Jail doesn’t make much sense to me. He stands up and gets in my face.
“Do you think you can fool someone like me? I’ve been doing this shit for 45 years,” his salvia is hitting my face, it doesn’t have the same effect as the rain, “it’s time to give it up and own up to the horrific shit you did.”
He curses too much. He continues to yell as my mind begins to float away once again. His window shrinks but I don’t end up far from him. The magnifying glass has flipped but I can still see him. It’s like a split screen; my reality and my unreality are occupying equal amounts of space. This has never happened before…I simultaneously see the psychiatrist waving his hand in front of my face, and an open ocean of memories. I close my left eye so I only see the ocean, problem solved! The ocean is calm; I’m where I want to be. I see a spec far off in the distance, Sarah. I’m in a boat. This boat cuts through the memories easier than ever before. I will finally be with Sarah again.
“You murdered your wife.”
I see Sarah. She’s the one in the ocean this time; she’s the one who’s stuck in foggy memories this time. She isn’t looking at me, she seems to be staring intently at something off in the distance. I don’t care about what she’s looking at, all I care about is getting her in my boat. I yell to her, I tell her I’m closer than I’ve ever been before. I know she can hear me but she’s still looking to the distance. I decide to look. A shark…comprised of nothing good. Hate, anger, panic, frustration, desperation, the shark is pure emotion.
“You murdered your wife, and you’re faking this whole thing.”
The shark is my enemy; it is what’s wrong with my mind. As it rushes towards us, I can see into its black eyes. I see death, destruction, murder. I reach out for Sarah. She needs to grab my arm. She doesn’t look at me; her eyes are locked onto the enemy. I lean too far over and fall in the fog. I’m underneath. It opens its mouth as I open my left eye. I close my right eye, even unreality is better than losing Sarah. I hear the psychiatrist.
“You strangled your wife, threw her in your boat, and pushed her overboard. We found you sitting in your boat, just like you are now…with that stupid look on your face. Level with me here, if you at least admit to it they probably won’t put you up for the death penalty.”
I open my right eye my mind floods. It’s overflowing. I embrace the emotions and memories that I have locked away for so long. I realize that I have misled myself completely. Sarah was not the wonderful wife my mind would have liked me to believe. I vividly remember that day now. The dog is barking as I’m walking up the steps to our house. I came home early with flowers because it’s Sarah’s half-birthday. I loved to celebrate silly little things. Another man, screaming, struggling, running. The man escaped, Sarah did not. The shark strangles her and throws her into the ocean. I love Sarah, but it was for her own good. She’ll live on in my mind how I want her to live. It will be easy enough to suppress the bad memories again; Sarah lives perfectly inside my reality.
“You never even loved her. Do you realize what you’ve done to her family?”
I stand up, and the psychiatrist looks at me with satisfaction. The look on his face says, “I knew I was right about you.” But he isn’t right about me; no-one ever has been. I want to drown him in my memories. With my hands around his throat, he’s gasping for air. He tells me he can’t breathe…
I think he means literally.


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