The Color Blue

February 3, 2012
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I hate the color blue.

It's everywhere I look. Especially on the ocean surface that stretches for miles and miles around me until it meets the sky on the horizon. The blue sky on the horizon, that is. And the sky is untainted by any clouds. Not even something as comforting as a remnant puffy white trail of a plane is visible. The only colors intruding in the explosion of blue are the clothes I wear and the mildew-brown boat I'm in.

I hate this boat. And I hate the sea and the sky and the color blue.

Mindlessly, I begin to scratch the edge of the boat with my right thumb, but am met with only raw skin; it strikes me as a reminder of how long I've been out here. There's nothing to do when lost at sea. After the first day -- when the first, and only, bottle of water was emptied -- I'd began obsessively scratching at the boat's inner walls, carving patterns, writing letters, or just idly gnawing at the wood with my nails. The thirstier -- and more scared -- I became, the more intrusive my scratching was. Now my nails are cruddy and chipped and the tips of my fingers are sore. And I'm still thirsty. And still sitting in a boat this huge body of water could swallow any moment.

Days are putrid. No matter how high the heat climbs, I force myself to keep clothes on to shield my skin from the sun. You'd think by now the sweat and grime would have caked so thick that I would have dived into the sea in desperation to clean off. And most importantly, cool off. But I can't swim.

And I fear water. Not severely, but enough.

When my parents would vacation to the coast, I was fine until it was beach time. They’d brush off my pleading to stay away from the sea and I’d end up sitting on the sand for hours watching people submit to the heavy, battering water.

Being dragged to the pool was almost as miserable, but at least that water didn't try to eat you. It simply showed no mercy when you discovered you aren't the swimmer you thought you were.

They promised this cruise wouldn't be bad because I could stay inside and never go on deck and acknowledge the sea, but when your cruise ship sinks and you’re separated from everyone else, including the passengers with the radios and flares, there's not much left going for you.

Thus, nights are welcoming, for I don't have to see the mass of sea dominating everything and face the fact that I'm alone with it. When I’m sheltered in complete darkness, I see the stars, and I never knew there were so many that could be seen from Earth. When I close my eyes and hold my breath, I imagine this is what death is like – an empty mind, an empty sight, and an empty sound. But then the morning arrives and the water returns.

I start idly gnawing on my blistered fingertips. This entire trip I have been huddled in the center of the boat, too afraid if I move too close to one side, the sea will reach a cold, misty arm from its surface, wrap wet fingers around my neck, and drag me in. That's all that has captivated my mind these few days. The water.

And there’s that damn blue color. It might as well be clear, like bathwater, but the thought instantly terrifies me; I imagine myself peering around and not seeing ugly blue everywhere, but water filled with sea urchins and little buggy fish and objects lost at sea from many years ago that may still be drifting along. And how far it'd stretch down -- hundreds of miles. I realize that I'm basically floating on air; there's only a few inches of wood beneath me that's keeping me sustained above a huge abyss.

I halt chewing my fingertips and close my mouth. It occurred to me only now how very dry my mouth is, and my throat, and my eyes, and skin. Despite the obnoxiously bright sun and hot air, I shiver.

There's a little taunting thought in the back of my mind that has been repressed. My fear and perplexity toward this whole ordeal have helped smother it, but it's wriggling under my weakening consciousness, slowly slipping free. It's like when everyone is standing in a hospital room with that one much-loved family member whose time is limited. No one discusses them as if their life is about to leave; everyone refuses to acknowledge it, because some weary, hopeless part of them wants to believe that if it remains unspoken, it can't be true.

But the world doesn't work like that.

I'm angry. Spiteful of the cruise trip I was forced on and spiteful for the people who will be okay because they weren't unlucky like me. In the chaos of a sinking ship, they weren't the ones who unknowingly strayed from the group and launched the nearest lifeboat, only to find that the night wrought a darkness that left the world at sea invisible as the stars were veiled by a burning ship, and they didn't call for others only to hear a commotion of yelling people that gradually grew distant. So I give in to the squirming notion and let it surface:

Water has enslaved me, yet I'm here to die from lack of water. To die.
But at least my years of fearing water have finally proven mildly sensible, because this is my reality of being killed by the sea, not just my fears.

I shift in my seat; my body aches with protest. I didn't realize how physically faint I've become.

I don't think, I just roll myself into the sea, and the water is cool and soothing to my hot skin.

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