continued from previous
Meanwhile far out into the ocean, Michael’s lifeless body moved gently up and down with each passing wave. He was floating head down, facing the depths of the ocean that he had loved all his life. Every limb, every joint was now free to move in any direction: free from the oppressive commands of the central nervous system, surrendering completely to each gentle nudge of the wave underneath. Michael wasn’t just floating. Despite being a corpse, he was dancing with the waves more than he had ever danced during his living days. The ocean’s energy was flowing right through him, turning his body into a wave. There was no need to resist anymore. He had spent all his life studying, scientifically analyzing the ocean’s life-giving energy. Now he had become the energy.
All lifeforms look beautiful when they die. The tragedy of death exposes the delicate vulnerability that we all learn to cleverly hide while we’re alive. Now the vulnerability is out in the open for everyone to see: whether through a ghastly wound, a contorted position, a pale blue skin tone. We try to bury people in long rigid coffins, applying make-up on their faces to make them look like they’re still alive. But this is rarely the natural position in which people die. We all die in our own unique position, like flowers placed in between the pages of a book. We die as original pieces of art, each one never to be replicated in the exact same form.
Michael drifted further and further away from the shore, further than almost any of the debris from the storm. The city eventually became a thin white strip in the distance, barely noticeable below the sharp outline of the mountains. Eventually even the mountains disappeared from the horizon. It was just Michael, the phytoplankton, and the ocean.
(from the upcoming novel A New Earth)
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George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books