Breathe

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“You know, I wish you would stop taking these dives.”
“Oh, stop. It’s-”
“It’s dangerous, too dangerous for you. There are the sharks just to start; then theres the danger of those buildings collapsing while your inside, being finally broken by some persistent current. Or what if a fisherman should net you? They fish there, you know. And they say there are worse than sharks down there…monsters. It’s dangerous girl!”
The two walked a trail that wound its way near to the edge of steep cliffs that plunged into the sea.
One, bent with age yet spry with health, or spirit.
The other a youth, walking a sure, straight, confident stride.
“It isn’t like I don’t have a weapon. And I’ve never seen anything but a few mean cuttlefish near the old landfill. Diving at Binang is just…just me alone, in this desolately beautiful sea, swimming through that city where so many lived for so long. There is so much to see! Things left just as they were; some, in closed doors, whole rooms just- tables still set in the homes; products half-built in the factories; sure, there’s the occasional corpse, but-”
“Don’t speak so frivoulously! To you its some kind of playground, but for many they lost everything down there. And most people, then, they didn’t even really realize what was happening. They saw it on the news, or heard about it from friends- but back then, who really turned around their waste? Who really thought THEY were responsible for the sea’s rise? They were just simple folk, who had been told all along by the authorities they trusted that it was all ok to drive around every day in their smoggy, gas-chugging cars- sure, they could have been more responsible, but think about it- as you grow and get older, you are told who to trust and why. If these sources are somehow flawed, it takes tremendous inner strength to find the time to research and act on ideas that conflict with authority. And many people couldn’t see the signs of change, because they just didn’t realize- anyway, you know very well why Binang now lies under the sea, and you know very well to not take it lightly. It’s not only because its dangerous to dive there- the city should be a memorial. When it had to be abandoned because of what we had done, it woke the whole world up to the raw seriousness of it all, as though Binang had to be sacrificed to save us all.”
“I know what you mean…but, as far as the danger goes, you must realize- danger is all around us, always, and there are things as dangerous as sharks or worse on land, in our cities, sometimes even in our homes. You draw lines around where is safe and where is dangerous but in the end there is no wall that will protect you when injury comes. Or if a wall protects you, a disease will do the job. Or if you are too healthy in the body for disease, maybe your mind will fight you and drive you insane. We can’t protect ourselves, but we always try. I think its because we used to be cells, just single cells, as evolution puts it. So…that first cell was always worried about its membrane. Then when it became multicellular, it worried about its group membrane and the singular membranes and the cells. Always trying to stay safe. And as our complexity grew, so our consciousness grew, but we have always maintained our inclination to protect our membranes, whether through armor or forts or national boundries or through technology or military might or whatever. I think-”
“You are just completely rambling. What in the world are you talking about? Is this what they teach you in that biology class? Anyway, whatever. Let us be silent for a while, and look at the beautiful sea, and just be thankful neither of us has met any of these cruel ends.”
“Sounds good, but, really, what I was saying-”
“Eh?”
“What I was saying was-”
“Silent, eh? Just take a breath.”

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