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heads, you get cephalization & tails, you get gills

God is in the air that is pumped through his lungs, someone shouting “Breathe, goddammit, breathe.” He would refuse, if he could speak, on two conditions: filtering air and water through gills was more his thing, and wasn’t the whole paramedic // oxygen tank // taking the lord’s name in vain while trying to save someone from God too cliched? But God is in the air, flowing through the tubes almost aggressively and he is breathing — but not of his own free will.

Some people are born with water on the brain, some people are born victims of a chemical imbalance; he was born with water in his heart, invisible gills, and salt that tried to dry to the bones.

He had bad skin, so he was the only one ever fully clothed on the beach. Except, of course, for those girls wrapped in winter coats under a summer’s sun, accompanied by families shouting “Hey Anna, Marge, Lily, how about the water?” The answer was always, “F*** off.” Those girls thought they’d lose a couple of pounds with their flesh tucked away, sweating against their will, but hey, the calories were burned. Sometimes, they’d saunter up to him, one by one … Asking for somewhere more private.

“There are cliffs up there,” he’d say, then walk away. The thought of his skin being touched by a girl, as rough as it was — almost sandy, as though the beach had embedded itself into his skin — wasn’t a pleasant idea.

He’d watch the waves instead; wishing for gills instead of the million turns of fate that made the rocky Earth, humans evolve from creatures barely intelligent enough to s*** with something other than their mouths, how his mother lured men to her in a rose colored dress — and kept only the one with thorns she didn’t possess herself. All these twists of a coin, landing and converging into different paths, one where the coin landed on tails, and in that universe his gills had stayed, and he knew he belonged to the sea. Yet in this one, he landed on heads — cephalization, a quick response to stimuli, and an insatiable urge to bury the ground beneath the mighty weight of the brain and the iron fists of all the human warriors that came before him, conquering both sea and land, claiming it as their own.

He landed on heads, and he was born, and he was without gills. He was with hands and feet and salt in the ocean that would eventually make him into nothing, but he could not live without the sea and its depths.

A love letter to the waves, a post script curse to any and all gods that chose this life out of the infinite possibilities available, and a “thank you girls for your offer, but there’s no room in this here, filled to the brim with water and leaking like a broken boat.”

Ten minutes later; it was neither heaven or hell — just “breathe dammit” and fluttering eyes; there was a faint sensation of salt and vomit, a strange wriggling in his stomach. And it was free will that led him to the back of an ambulance, and the makers of the Earth and evolution and spinners, the six sides of a die, heads and tails. They had all betrayed him, billions of years before.



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