• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 04
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Within Without

It hadn’t been like this before. When I’d gone there in my younger years. Then I was free. Bare of skin as if freshly emerged from the mother. Mouth unblocked for the first time and free from the passage of my own salts and urine passing through me and into her, ever onwards. Within and without.

Going back equipped me with a key that would be tied to my ankle. Shorts that remained knotted for the five years I owned them and a single rubber sock giving me the protection of a second skin. The mouth roared from one end of the water and the cries of others bounced from a glass roof cloaked in dried leaves. Fear caused me to grip my toes around the tiled edges.

We were all to plunge in. A rush of bubbles and bodiless limbs pushed towards and pulled away. All direction removed. Every bit of this seeking to join within me, to the part you helped to create. I am without your protection in this moment. I am exposed and long to be clothed. To be safe and dry amidst the rows of paper, my strings of words.  

And then alone. No longer able to discern the faces in the distance. The shy glint of metal across the water. Movement ceased, barring the continued interruption of dipping below and rushing once more to the top. A reach to grasp. At nothing. Solidity dissolved and the fragile molecular structure of my surroundings forever changed. Water grown dark.

Now I am to block the outside, so as not to be intruded.
We are losing the light and yet my breath is retained. I am preparing to enter the darkness once more but not the kind comfort and soft warmth of her but something altogether colder. The roaring mouth across the water has been swapped for an endless.


Within Without

When I watch upon my screen it appears that I should take to it easily, as if I had never left. Yet I know it will fill me, block me, turn me inside to outside once again and I will become visible. Vulnerable. This is not my natural state. I have wandered in this dry deserted grid that we have constructed, for far too long. I may never be able to fully return.

Once submerged, again alone. Sound carries to me from afar but distance remains immeasurable. I gaze at the line we have fabricated between water and air. The line we name so as to measure how far we have come, to have something to aim for. And yet, I am no less lost upon reaching it than before I had set off.