This is the second half. Please read Life in still water by bewilderbeast, first.
It is more dry than is usual. We are between wet snow and wet rain. And so it must be here, at the dock, where there is water. I am trying to remember who I am and the water moving makes me think in clearer shapes.
This time it is repetetive mindless movement, the same image flitting past again and again. A sopoforic dreamy effect. But what can you expect to find, looking for whitecaps on a still, misted day?
At the end of the dock is the girl from the rainbow. Sandy. She moves as she hears me but doesn't say anything. Often silence is more companionable; but when I am sitting beside her, something wants to be said.
"You look lost," I say, smiling because I don't know if I am saying it to her or me. As she smiles back I see something in her eyes and wonder what she knows.
"Why are you here?" She asks an impossible question because I don't quite know myself and how do you explain that to the girl on the end of the dock?
"Why are you?" I look at her as her eyes drift out across the ocean. Answering a question with a question is an old game and I wonder if she will play.
"Because I thought once that I needed to grow up, and working on the world from here seemed like a better idea than stagnating in the city."
It's always the ones who have come for simplicity and clarity who end up here beside me on the dock. In my mind I can see a restless line of them, adjusting their coats to keep the warm in and pulling their hair out of their eyes and swishing bare toes through unfamiliar water and asking me questions I can't answer... none of them ever stay.
"And did you?" But when does anyone grow up? What will she say?
"Everyone needs to change. It's part of growing up, I suppose. If everyone did what they wanted to all the time there'd be chaos." She shrugs. "That's what sets us apart as a species, that we can think and progress. I could be anything now."
All of them, coming from the city with pretty words and important ideas. Alexander, Sandy... others. They are all from the same mold.They come to understand and when they have they go, and all I want is more time.
"Do you believe in evolution? That we progress and change, become other things?"
"I suppose so." She sounds confused.
"What are we supposed to believe?" I want more time to figure out why they always become other things and I stay here, the same for the next one to encounter.
"For continued existence there is change, development, progress. 'Survival of the fittest'. Usually it is just one animal with some specific variation that determines the survival of the population and their change into something new. Black moths into white moths, you know?" I suppose someone has to be the catalyst.
"I don't understand."
"Why are you here?" I wonder if she knows.
"I'm here to learn sense and logic, to learn not to waste my life away on some park bench or empty dock."
"At least you're still angry somewhere. That's a good sign." Yes, a good sign. She is a change; the mold has evolved. She is going places, not casting about mindlessly for a dream. She isn't as full of barely-directed emotion as the others have been. But where is she going?
I continue."Insects don't have hearts like ours. Theirs are weak and inefficient, blood just sort of sloshes around inside them and then filters back through to be processed again. If you aren't going to use your heart, then what was the point of all this evolution?" Usually they come with hearts like insects, emotions sloshing around. Eventually they understand, but they don't use it. They leave before there's time, and the emotions slosh painlessly out for reprocessing while my heart breaks again.
"Is it enough just to be alive?" I have been wondering for some time. What kind of existance is it, sitting here on docks beside them as they find themselves and I lose myself? Sandy is looking at me, staring at me. Whether she is seeing the outside or the inside I do not know; but it is not a look of listening. "Now tell me why you are here," I say. I think perhaps I have said too much, let too much of myself go again.
"My clothes fit too well and I was living too fast."
"Too fast for whom?" It's an incongruous statement, about the fit of her clothes; but it's true. She is a sleekly outlined form, even sitting scrunched on a dock.
She pauses, looking out into the water.
"Things have changed, since I've been here. It's easy to be what you're supposed to be, there's no pressure and no conflict. No distractions, and it's just so easy to be right. How could I possibly sustain all this out there?"
"Where?" I know the answer as I ask the question. They are all from there.
"The real world. Off the island." She waves towards it. The mainland is invisible in the distance and the mist. I think about asking her which place is really the real world; is it there, or is it here, where all of the fast ones come to slow down
"You've lived here always, then?"
I nod. Perhaps she can tell because of my hesitance. It's always the ones from outside who know what's real.
"It's different out there. Time has forgotten this place."
"What is out there that is not reflected here?" Here is just a concentrated version of out there. People are still lost and found. Hearts still break. Tears still fall, and souls are still understood.
She looks at me, and I look at her, and this time in her eyes I see myself. It scares me. When someone different breaks your heart, it is one thing. Her heart is the same and she will know how to make mine shatter.