(C2H4)n

(Runner-up in the Limnisa Short Story Competition 2018)

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Melting point: 115–135 °C (239–275 °F; 388–408 K), Density: 0.88–0.96 g/cm3, Abbreviation: PE

 

***

 

I have been floating for a long time now. Beneath me there is darkness.
I bob on the waves that form the surface of that darkness. I will never be able to sink into the abyss. You might think that certainty is of comfort to me. It is not. I would love to wallow into a deep silent black space before I find my permanent place to rest. That longing, that yearning to belong must be a cruel hoax of some kind.
I will never rest. I am always wandering.

 

Bobbing, jouncing on this quavering surface. I was made to be indestructible, to recycle at best but never to stop existing.
Although nobody ever did. Recycle me, I mean.

I guess it was easier to just leave me behind. I was abandoned. You know what that does to you? It makes you feel like trash.

The sheer conviction of not being good enough. Not even good enough to use. I shouldn’t be offended, being disposed and all.
I am just this thing. I am not supposed to think.
I can feel though.

 

Do you hear the voices? I hear voices. I definitely hear voices.

 

A bird rests on me for a while. That happens sometimes.
The first time it made me really uneasy. The rapping of its scrawny little claws.
Then it gave me hope. I hoped the bird would pick me up and fly with me to a surface that is not blue and liquid and endless. To a place where someone might find me. Use me. Make me into something else. A nest maybe? Birds build their nests out of almost anything. But the bird sat on me in silence, reposing for countless nautical miles, the sea breeze quivering through its feathers. Before it flew away.
I have lost all hope now.

 

Am I mad at my maker you wonder? Well, isn’t everybody?
I do loathe the one that left me behind.
Yes, I have feelings of hate. I want him to suffer the superfluous blues and endure the endless greens of the sea in their most desolate, isolated state. I want him to idle over acres of water. I want him to never find peace. I want him to feel abandoned.

 

He never even looked at me properly, before he threw me away.

I was discarded on a beach. Nobody saw me fall. At least that’s what I thought in the beginning. In retrospect I think they looked the other way. On purpose. They did not want to see me. From the moment he was done with me I ceased being an object.
I became abject.

 

It must have been days. The scouring heat of the sun perpetually alternated with the crisp dark chill of night, exhausting my properties. The wind blew grainy sand against my exterior. There was nothing left inside me. The one that had abandoned me drained me till the last drop. I felt like an empty shell amongst the others. I was at a graveyard. A final resting place for the leftovers of the ocean. The waves roaring and crashing on the beach. I felt at peace there. I thought it was the end. I thought there was an end. That this was what it looked like. That there would be just me and the sand forever.

I never felt so close to anything as to that place in my entire existence. I hoped the sand would absorb me.
I hoped I would become that beach.

 

Instead the winds increased. I got lifted up and jerked around. The moment before I met my fate I dislodged. I was displaced, hurled into the surf. A long body of water swelled, arched and broke down trapping me in its centrifugal force. The sea spat me out and picked me up and spat me out again. Breaker after breaker after breaker. Still I stayed unscathed.

And then it went quiet. The storm dissipated. The sea became eerily inanimate, like she had given up. Like she had put her everything in fighting the storm and now she was empty. I felt a connection to the ocean right then and there. I thought I knew her. I was wrong.

 

One thing I have learned in this undulating spell is that the ocean is a barking mad woman. She has no logic. She has no stability. She just does as she feels towards whatever is coming her way. She does not act, she merely reacts, and rather unpredictably. For something as static as me there could not be a worse place.

I know that there must be some peace and quiet in the oceans deepest darkness. The beach doesn’t stop at the surf. It stretches below me underneath these distorted waters. My beach, I feel like it travelled with me. If I could just get down there. Anywhere but here.

There must be others. I can hear them. Their voices become louder. But maybe I am imagining things. Maybe it is just her erratic waters trying to trick me.

 

The voices are getting closer it seems. Something is pulling me towards them.
She has gotten a hold of me. I am at the mercy of her tides.

I am no longer languidly floating. She is forcing me to go somewhere now. I am resisting. I am being dragged. It feels involuntary and yet it excites me. I am being pulled and shoved in one particular direction. At last I am going somewhere. For the first time. A destiny of sorts. A place where I might belong.

 

***

 

There is an Island. It is a barren Island. It is a plastic Island.

We have a history enclosed somewhere inside our existing forms. We were made, we had a purpose, we were intentional. Or at least intentional enough to be made. That’s right, there are more of us. And each of us was meant to be useful.

We are the Island.

We were dragged here by the ocean. She culled us with her coercive currents. She wanted to get rid of us, yet the opposite happened. We grew into something. Together we are like an organism, amassing the scale of whole countries, growing into the size of continents. We are the new world. We will never rest. Shapeshifting, adrift in this vast blue biosphere, we thrive faster than any vegetation, killing birds and fish and plants in the process of outgrowing the ocean itself. Consequently, we will kill you. You have been warned.

We are an evil Island. A product of your ignorance. Of your ineptitude to see the truth. We are your conscious. We are your legacy. We will never stop haunting you and your children. Try to forget that we are here? Try to look the other way? We will not let that happen. We want to be seen. We want you to know what you have done. We call out to you. We want revenge.

© 2019 Leonieke Baerwaldt