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Beyond the Sea

by Kallirroe Agelopoulou

At home, about a hundred.

At work, less than twenty-five.

At the beach, during the tourist flock-in season, almost two hundred.

At the beach, near sunset, on an autumn day... My ratio can reach infinity, or as close to it as I’ll ever get. Infinite cubic metres, infinite space.

It was a difficult week, too many errands, too many files, too much responsibility. By the end, my whole body rebelled, escaped in its own little scrunched-up, entangled muscletorium, refused to move. No more writing down notes, it said, no more bending backwards to accommodate family and friends, no more bowing down to crazy bosses. Go away, it said, I need this. God, I need the space.

The sun is melting away those phantom knots on my tied-up limbs, unlocking them one by one, letting them lie loose. All around me blows a light breeze, making the swaying, sea-born tall grass sing. Trying its best lulling me to sleep, but I’m too alert, still. Too caught up in the world I left.

I muster the strength to take a sip of my cold orange shake. Like some tiny birds flickering their microscopic wings, somewhere close the smallest humming noise begins. It enters the outer canal of my left ear, passes the eardrum to twirl around the bony maze, reaching not only the acoustic nerve, but also some other, hidden path even deeper inside my brain.

I focus my eyes toward the horizon. The sun, the wind, the grass... everything, but above all that faint buzzing sound, is creating a story for me, a kaleidoscopic medley of things loved. People and places and moments in time appear on crystal clear sky, as though the endless blue above were my very own, gigantic television screen. I’m plugged to my idealized memories as they build up to a crescendo of comforting familiarity. Words in the faintest clouds follow the longing.

They say, Stay. Relax. Sleep.

In the middle of all the space, I close my eyes.

I sleep. My body is melting, letting go of all the heaviness, of all the doubts. I drop the cup of juice to my side, ready to be lost in daydream. My thoughts try to cover the whole of this place, taking their first hesitant steps timidly, soon roaming completely unguarded, free.

Their first stop is always violence, no matter how mellow the leading images are: murders, decapitations, rapes. The sort of depravity one would never dare foster. It’s all right. It’s always like that. Suddenly freed from the day-to-day oppression, my mind never knows exactly where to go. Dazed, unfocused, it follows the easy way out.

Soon, my mind settles into itself, to its real dreams and wants. The travels I wanna do, the people I wanna meet. The life I’ve yet to live. No TV-tailored drama, no fake, ad-created needs. Just me. As if I’m floating in some station high above, orbiting the world, zero gravity eventually releases my soul to a deep, unfettered sleep. It seems to last for ages.

A moment before the sun sets, another humming sound. Another brain connection, a feeling compelling my eyes to open wide. I blink at the sky to see the new words that appear, in perfect cloudspeak.

They say, Go. But come back again soon.

The shop at the corner of the beach is closing. They start packing up their coffee machines and their neurobuzzers and their huge skyline projectors, ready to call it a day.

I take a look at the others, the rest of the sparse visitors along the coastline. We all quietly get up, dust ourselves from the sand, gather our thoughts and our stuff and leave. We’ll be back again, as soon as possible.

There’s so much space here.

Copyright © 2013 by Kallirroe Agelopoulou

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