When the air is slick against your skin, you can taste time happening all at once. Remember learning to swim and the smell of that ocean crawls into your face. Remember the maiden’s hair shedding and the sarcotesta lie on your tongue like a dead animal. Imagine the physics of an hourglass reversed in multiple entendre, and step into the future; there is not so far to Nar Mattaru.
I slip through the atmosphere like a birthing child, reveling in what I know and am now learning, apparently for the first time, though I know this humidity like a membrane; a dense placenta ripe with amniotic reprisal waiting for cricketsingers to bite their effs through the lip. I carry my umbrella tied. Luckily, I haven’t had to use it yet. That’s not to say I’ve never been caught in the rain…but I know with this humidity, the way it weighs down, it is crushing my lungs, that it would be best to carry one for the time being. But how tightly the clock is unwound. My clothing sticks to me, a chill runs through as a cool wind ushers away the warm fog in an afternoon. Staring off down the street, as the belly of the sky rumbled it’s first thunder, a small drop of rain hits me in the eye. A sleep fell deeply in squared potentials, but a king’s yawn at poor fools brought the second wind, which was a wind for me and my self alone, and in a flash, I existed everywhere, and always, from the very beginning until the end. When I return to my umbrella, it is still tied. A second drop, on the cheek…a third. A mist into a light drizzle. A pleasant sunshower in the afternoon on a tuesday. I raise my umbrella, untied, and open it to the sky.
A warm veil, laced with a decorative pattern, burdened in my favorite color, gathers above. I am walking faster than I can walk, to the point where I leave Sebastian where he is at the present moment, walking down the street on a tuesday, sunshower in the afternoon, and step into the future. A limitless future, with criteria, suffers limits, undoubtedly. We will only move slowly, like a lover’s hand, like evolution. Places us a step ahead of my former vessel, places he does not dare to go, for the time being. Step outside the galaxy and dive headfirst into the first future I set my eyes on. The one that seems most feasible. There are many to choose from.
The rain won’t come fast enough. Knuckles of the pitiful pious clench like folded palms for prayer for sons’ forsaken fists, holey in the hands fraught with alms and father’s fury. Hold your breath as the arms give way. Small boys gone learning without proper parental supervision swim swimmingly under the weather overcast. Genuflect for sobbing madonnas left to ripple behind generation upon generation growing up on theft and mimicry. Growing high toward magnet moon, they’re brought to reverence in new shallows where once were lush parkinglots. A phantom arthritis, the Herald of Varuna. The winds pick up, throwing black confetti for the Bride of God.
Heat builds like condensation on our little preface. A whitehot comet slips through the atmosphere like a psychic in the rain; so much so, that it is real, and the future so imminent we are caught in the middle. They’d fall like arrows, and the pressure is too much for the old girl to bear. She turns to mud in front of us and we are back to where we started, walking down the street with our umbrella, and our name is Sebastian. We’re about to snap out of it.
Sebastian walks at sunrise, one step ahead of himself, and here we meet again. Following faults lined to the future, let us step aside to let the man pass. And into the past we are now and further. A fog, once again; seeding gingkoes, crawling into your face, reminding you of a childhood, from the very beginning, and learning how to swim. We dive headfirst into an ocean as the arms give way and there is panic. This panic begins in the chest. And quickly it spreads. Throughout the body. Into the head, and behind Sebastian’s eyes. The panic made him sick as a current carried him further and further out, paralyzed by fear and left for a mannequin, as his mind struggled to accommodate the wait. The pressure was too much for the young boy to bear. Suspended in the cold, clouded green of that ocean, a spurt of blood and vomit like smoke from the mouth and the water rushes in. The undertow pulls little Sebastian’s body deep into a dark netherworld of which he’d learn the proper name and identity. And after an eternity, we return to the child; unwound from a giant tentacle from the bottommost bottom of the sea and up to its surface. We are now lying with our back on the sand. Hands press against the sternum and we cough up two small lungsworth of saltwater. I can hear my mother’s voice. My god… Are you okay? she asks. Mommy, I say, I learned how to swim. Vision soaked through like a spill through paper as sound came crashing like waves in unread paragraphs. I help myself to my own two feet, refusing the lifeguard’s hand. Staring off, down the shoreline I see a man walking with an umbrella, tied, and follow from a distance not far from Nar Mattaru.
With prayers in their hearts, hearts tremble in chests at the foot of the bed before drifting off as coffins of memory down glasstar rivers. The rain fell further than rain has ever fallen. And with distance comes velocity, proving gravity kinetic. By nightfall, sleep infected the black hemisphere. All heads rested on dry feathers, dreaming the umbrellaman’s dream, while outside cloudpatches quilted unseen to blanket the sky perpetually, the sirens’ song seeping through every seam with hearts crowned and on fire, as those asleep in shadows, someplace else when the stitches finally burst, arise with rhetorical questions.