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October 15, 2012 | by  | in Opinion |
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Breathing

Imagine a photo out of focus, imagine the man chasing you in a dream always just behind you always just out of sight, a presence more than a person, imagine those things and you imagine the captain, living just out of the corner of your eye.
“Where are we going?” the First Mate asked.
The Captain didn’t reply.
“When will we arrive?”
Nothing.
“Is there anywhere I could get off?”
“Can you swim?”
“Yes,” lied the First Mate.
“We are on our way. We will arrive.”
“I am here. I am on this boat. That means it won’t arrive.”
“What makes you so sure?”
The First Mate tried to explain his situation and his history but soon he knew that none of this was new information to the Captain.
“Why do you think I allowed you aboard? I chose you. You are still stuck with the idea that what happens around you happens because of you. You still think you are an agent in your life. We do not live life. Life lives us.”
“Yes.”
“Then why do you think that your presence here will determine the fates of all these men.”
“Because it’s happened so many times before.”
“Has it?”
The First Mate found that he couldn’t answer.
“I have somewhere you can go. But I want you to know that in going nothing will change.”
“Where—”
“Nothing will change in that everything will change. But everything changes. Every second everything around you. None of
it is to do with me or with you.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“That’s smart. I am very probably lying. All these men will drown with or without you. They would have drowned whether you chose this boat or not.”
“I can still change that.”
“No you can’t. Don’t you listen?”
“Where can I go?”
“The hold.”
“What’s in the hold?”
“Somewhere to go.”
And so the First Mate left the Captain’s Office. The door shut behind him without his help just as the vault like door to the hold opened in his presence. He stepped in.
Contained within the hold was the whole world.
The First Mate stood on a ledge overlooking 7 billion people going about their lives far underneath him. He saw cities and towns and houses and schools and businesses and everything.
All in boxes, containers. The whole world packed up so secure it didn’t even notice. He could even see the boat he was currently on. He could see his house with what used to be his family. A few of the containers had spilled in the turbulent seas and so the little pockets of the world were littered with other places and other times.
He felt the door shut behind him and behind that door he heard the boat on which he’d taken his final voyage fade away.
And then. Suddenly. He was falling. Falling towards the world.
Even though in his ears he could still hear the creaking of that ship.

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About the Author ()

Uther was one of the two arts editors in 2009. He was the horoscopier and theatre writer in 2010. Alongside Elle Hunt, Uther was coeditor in 2011.

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