Deluge

There was once a young man, who knew on the same day
both Joy and Sorrow.

They came down in waves upon him, and stripped him of warmth, smothering layer

upon

layer

in a python-constricting womb,

till his lungs were forced out of all air, and his screams became nothing more than silent bubbles, empty words that disappear above the line
separating sea and sky.

His fingers were pruned at the effort of escape; the seemingly-tangible

Memories, Hopes, Dreams
slipping out of the hole-ridden container in which he had shaped with his two hands.

His legs, chained to the ocean, had desperately searched for shore, stepped on land-ho, only for it to liquefy under him, plunging him further away from the light,
into the Tunnel of Darkness.

He remembered on that day learning just one lesson:
That struggling only made the drowning worse.

And so:
He let the water embrace him, hug him like a long lost lover
He let Nepture close the lid of his coffin; sky blue, ocean blue, blue
He let the sirens and fishes weep; the salt of their tears made no difference
and
He let the world sink
under
over

A broken ship
A swallowed land
A message in a bottle
Warning its reader
that love had looked like the sea
but regret was how it tasted.

150 days it lasted, and 220 days it ended
When the animals had returned to land
When Spring flourished above the bodies of the drowned and the wicked, he stumbled
fish out of water
Trepidation onto land
that felt like thin ice

His clothes, now dry and stiff, had made him feel their watery weight as they pulled him down 6 feet under, twenty thousand leagues under. The air, which he so wanted before, had no more use to him. He no longer wanted to speak. He no longer wanted to breathe. In fact it burned him with this gift of life
undeserved.
It didn’t take very long for him to realise that the sky was just a mirror of the same prison.

Since that day,
The sea never left him.
The sea had become a part of him.
Three-quarters worth.
The blood in his veins.
The salt in his tears.
The taste of his tongue.
The blue in his eyes.
His body only a vessel
Neither half-empty
Nor half-full
Carrying fragments, shells of a long ago lifetime
Thrown down by the sea.

He should have been a hero, coming back from the dead,
but to be honest he never managed to end his quest. Over the years as he travelled from land to land, he doubted if the things that haunted him had truly happened.
He only needed to turn around, to see if his nightmare had been real.

but no.
The words would anchor themselves into his ears again
like siren song, luring him away.

Don’t look back.
Don’t
look back.