After reading out loud to my roommate and my friend, the piece I posted yesterday and another piece that was up as a possible reading choice, I’ve decided (three hours before the event) to do this piece instead. In its entirety it runs at 3 mins and 17 seconds, but I am cutting the last paragraph in order to make the 2 minute time slot. Now I need to practice.
Every day we go to the beach. We walk slowly along the shore pressing the silk like white sand between our toes. I hold up a handful and watch it cascade between my fingers. It is like watching the seconds pass, the clouds in time elapse, everything moving as in a David Lynch film. These are our last minutes. I watch as my children run up to the water and kick up the surf. They laugh raucously in the ways that only children can; uninhibited, free, what we were all meant to be; joyful and filled with belly aching laughter. They don’t understand what is coming. I look to my wife, sitting in the sand. She is watching the water, silently, she has been crying for weeks. She had grown up here this is her beach. We were married on this beach almost ten years ago. “We never should have had children,” is what she mutter to me in bed one evening, as she had turned away from me. “Don’t say such things.” I had said, “Why would you say that?” I had asked. “We are leaving them a terrible world.” She said. I said nothing. We tried to avoid watching the news, but now we watch every day to see the warnings, to know how soon before the black bubbles roll onto the shore, before the stinking molasses runs down our legs in streaks of grime, to know when the stench will fill our beach, our street, our home. When the birds, smothering in ooze, their red eyes blinded in reek, when the carcasses encased like nightmarish tootsie rolls, will appear at the edge of our doorsteps. How will we explain all the death?
“I feel like I am in a movie.” My wife spoke toward the sea. For some reason the oil is separating us. I look at the photos, and photos of the birds, and feel as if the oil has coated our house, that those gasping gulls are my children, that the suffocating crude is seeping into our bed covering us. I am useless as a man, as a father, as a husband in the face of this, all I can do is watch as my children run into the ocean on the last days of life as we know it here.
“It is out there,” she said, “coming, moving, like it is breathing on its own. It is coming to kill all of us and everything. We are going to be like the science fiction movies where there is nothing left. We will be brutalized.”
“No we wont.” I whispered. She looked to me her eyes glaring. She blames me, her eyes and her anger blames me for the accident, as if I single-handedly broke the pipe and released the monster. A part of me felt she was right, that we should not have brought children into this world, that we are irresponsible that we are selfish that we damage all we touch, and then we offer it up to our children to clean. They will not have the same freedoms or the same beauties that we had. We broke and torched it all. We did, and our parents, and our grandparents, all for the sake of comfortable lifestyles with no regard or true care for the people, the animals or the environments that we exploited on the way. We chose to ignore the damages done in other places, we couldn’t see it so it wasn’t real. Until it is real, and then there is no stopping it.
A cool breeze blew in off the sea as birds cawed and dove up into the clouds. A hint of gasoline drifted and ran through my hair like sultry fingers. My wife’s dark hair lifted from her shoulders in the gentle breeze. Our children giggled and waved their hands at their noses.
“It’s here.” She said. “The End”.