What if We Still Thought the World was Flat?

October 4, 2011
By Grape BRONZE, Riverside, Connecticut
Grape BRONZE, Riverside, Connecticut
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

We sail across silver marbles, the sun glinting off of the rolling waves, clouds at a safe distance. We sail for hours, days, weeks, I don't know. The vegetables are still fresh.

Salty winds brush our suntanned skins, despite the crisp air. Our destination will be reached, problems set aside for the moment. All our focuses are set on getting there, to our end of the earth. We eat little, sleep little, work more; never giving up. We barely know where we are going, but that has no meaning. We can see the end, the straight, flat line. Where the world cuts off, where we will jump into oblivion, and fall. That is what we have, and that is all we need.

We float on in silence, the beauty of our escape escaping the bare rungs of reality. The others clump together, resting, but I stay awake and watch the water. Just watch. Watch and wait, for what, I don't know, maybe the end, maybe the beginning.

One side must necessarily have a flip, like a coin, she had said as we began, explaining our intentions.

It seems like an impossible feat from the outside, but we see the end. I gaze into the abyss, at the spot where the sea meets the sky, the spot where we will connect.

It has been forever now, the others are carefully reemerging to reenter their places on the ship. We are almost there now, the breeze catching up to us, the storm just a small bruise on the otherwise blue sky. The edge is coming closer, the scar of darkness opening up to view the ever-widening crack that is eternity. They see it, they scream, some happy, some sad. So many conflicting emotions for so few people, a pack of 10 reaching all ends of the spectrum.

She came over and held my fingers, she spoke words but not words, conveying feelings but not feelings, at this point we're all so numb that the things we do and say are merely figments of each other's imaginations. It doesn't matter anyways, to jump is to both lose and to win.

The scar cracks open further, exposing a starry sky corrupting the innocence of the day's blue sky. Cracks of the abyss spread like veins, throbbing with the massiveness and impossibility of it all.

She drops my hands, shaking her head; looking into my eyes, mine seeing, really seeing. That is the only sense that really matters now, so long as we know what happens, we will survive okay.

Heads reeling, the others beg the sky for forgiveness, their fear overpowering their actions. I remain seated, her body at my side, surprisingly calm in the face of infinity. A younger one, the youngest, makes a run for the side, eyes wild, seeing, really seeing. An older one, the oldest, catches him, eyes less wild, seeing without really seeing.

We begin to hear the sound, a light rush, like water falling. In silence, we listen, now all really listening, reality is setting in. All senses are flailing, all senses grasping onto the few stimulations occurring at the moment. And then the sound grows, and it is massive and insane, like the destruction of everything all at once; a booming, crashing falling noise, fire and water and wind and earth all colliding and collapsing. All colliding, and collapsing, and all ending. This is the end, we all know it, and in silence, we sit, and watch, and wait.

There is nothing around, not like they said. No other ships, no land, only the pure insanity and the sound, the rush of the end. We near the falls, the mist spraying our boat and tumbling into our hair, our faces. It stings our skin and wakes us up, and everyone is seeing, really seeing, and feeling, really feeling, nobody denying what is upon us.

On one side, one life, there is the blue sky, where we can turn around and go back to the beginning, where our lives started and existed; but on the other, there is the black abyss, purpley and pulsing like pain. But it's not pain, and it's not going to feel like pain, we don't know what it's going to feel like just that it will be real.

Our boat bobs in the deep water, blue like infinity. We knock up against the dock, made of dark reddish wood and worn down from the other ones who came to feel. We all climbed out, her holding and gripping my hand tightly. We slip onto the wood, no one prepared to stand yet.

Peering behind us, we take one last look at our ship, our last memory of home. It floats away, sucked into the current of the end. It flies over the edge, the first to jump, the first to experience. Shrinking and falling, it escapes us. Someone lets out a cry.

Her damp hand is entwined in mine, and despite my confidence, I am crying, wet tears falling down my face, and down her face, and the other's faces as well. I wipe mine off, and wipe hers off as well; she won't do it by herself.

The space has bled completely through the falsity of blue sky. It was just a cover, a blanket of untruth cast over the mattress. No more of our world do we know, will we know, or have we known, really. This is all that matters.

We have lined up on the dock, the varnish on the wood worn completely off where we stand now; hundreds of thousands of people rethinking and turning around, changing their minds when there is nothing to be changed.

But we don't do that. We just sit there, involved in ourselves and thus involved in each other. I slowly slip my hand out of the death grip of hers, she doesn't whimper because she knows it's done. We're on our own now, on our own and together.

We stand up simultaneously, minds working together; we can hear them clicking and ticking like clockwork. We jump, but we're not jumping, we're falling, because we can't help it. It was going to happen. Eyes wide open, we fall, off the edge of the world, seeing, and really seeing. We found the end, and are finding the end. It sucks us down, and up, we're falling and flying and floating, on our own and together.

The author's comments:
This piece was inspired by a promotional ad that I received in the mail about Oberlin College. The card had a simple sentence on it: "What if we still thought the world was flat?” That was all it took.

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