Friday, June 13, 2008

The Lifeguard [V3]

Everyday he would take the same route to the beach. And every day he would slowly walk the same path from his car to his post, letting his body adjust to the tension of the sun. And every day he would sit atop his post, his eyes squinting, looking out over the ocean and he would think about all the women he hated. He never had to look very far, they were around him at every moment; in town, in shops, in libraries, at home, and especially at the beach. There were women with skin that darkened under the sun, women that wore little or nothing, and women who laughed heavily about nothing and thought little about everything. There were women who revered Marilyn Monroe, women who were in love with their body and whose universe did not extend past their lightly freckled skin. There were women who didn’t read Dostoyevsky or Tolstoy or London or Thoreau or Nietzsche. Their gods lied within the glossy pages of a magazine, or a romance novel written with the basic formula that all romance novels follow. These women had no passion in their lives; they had no art, no literature, no control, they had no purpose to their life other than tanning and fucking.

So ever day he would sit perfectly still on top of his post and stare at them through his dark aviator glasses, observing and hating, letting the strangling heat of the sun beat down over his body. Sometimes when the heat was unusually overwhelming he would let his hate separate his mind from his crude, sweating body, and let it drift across philosophies and religions and meanings. He knew that God was dead, and he knew that religion was a crutch, and that you had to create your own purpose in life. He knew that nature was the only thing that was still beautiful anymore, and that it was the only thing that could still move him. He knew that someday he would leave the beach and its women behind to find his own salvation in the wild. He knew that no one else could comprehend this and that made him alone.

He felt he had to gain complete control over his own body. He needed to discipline it, to ignore and abuse it. He needed to make it suffer through starvation and pain, to let his body know that it was not associated with his mind. To assert that his body could not touch the infinite purity of his mind was important to him. He would not allow himself to become one of the endless women on the beach who saw their bodies as a pinnacle and summation of beauty in the world, as something to be relished. He knew the human form was ugly and detestable, that it didn’t provide an accurate representation of his self.

He could not let the ignorance of the world taint his soul.

This is what he would think of every day, atop his post, eyes gazing across the expanse of the ocean, with the thick heat of the sun washing over him. He loved how his hate separated his mind from his body, and the separation it created between himself and every other person on the beach. He knew that he was not like any of them and his hatred was confirmation. And witnessing their behavior at the beach allowed him justification.

One day while he was lost in thought under the pressure of the sun, someone yelled from far away. At first he absorbed it, allowing it to fuel his hatred for a little longer. But the yelling grew louder and drew nearer and soon it became discernable from the hiss of the waves. A woman with streaked golden hair and horror streaked eyes was running towards him. She was out of breath and fell to her knees when she reached the bottom of his post, drawing in oxygen with sharp gasps, heaving out her words in short blasts. Someone was drowning.

For a moment he gazed at the woman, running his eyes over her hair, eyes, skin and shape. Her hair was still dripping from salty ocean water and sweat, and her chest was rapidly rising and falling, and with the strange position she had fallen to, she had the appearance of an injured animal. He was disgusted by her appearance and a grimace grew across his face as he watched her completely deteriorate in the reflective sand.

His eyes then slowly turned towards the horizon and he scanned the glassy surface of the water. A little ways out he saw something thrashing in the water, causing little ripples in the surrounding area. He imagined the panic they were feeling; the hot flashes surging through their body, the dulling of rational thought as the water filled their lungs. He wondered what was running through their mind now that death was so close, so imminent. Did they regret not thinking more heavily about art and literature and philosophy and religion? Did they regret their shallow life? Did they realize how pointless their existence had been? Or did they simply go into a frenzy, desperately trying to dig their nails into what little life they had left? He wondered if their eyes resembled those of a cow’s when they hear the wet death of the ones ahead of them in the slaughter line. He thought that they probably did.

So he simply sat there and watched the little ripples become smaller and less frequent until they were completely swallowed by the greater ebb and flow of the ocean. When there was no longer any disturbance across the smooth surface, a sense of envy overcame him. He speculated whether or not they ever truly appreciated the beauty of their situation, completely escaping their body. As the woman beneath him continued to yell and shake violently in disbelief, little streaks ran down his cheeks, catching slightly on his upturned lips before dropping onto the waiting sand below.

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