The seagulls circled over her head. She had no food with her. She took a bath earlier in the day so she didn’t think she smelled like seagull food. But still the seagulls followed her. She reached the halfway point of her walk and now it was time for her to turn around and go back to her stepfather’s beach house. The fact that it is her stepfather’s and not her mother’s, grandmother’s, or friend’s house adds a layer of tension to the paragraph, don’t you think?
It was getting late in the afternoon and still the gulls followed her. She had never seen anything like it. She wasn’t feeding them, and yet they hovered above her head. She had mixed feelings about beginning to run. On one hand she might lose the gulls, but on the other hand it would mean she would be at the beach house that much sooner. Nonetheless she broke into a jog. The birds stuck with her. The flock was made up of maybe fifty birds. They stayed approximately fifteen feet above her head. She would make a sharp right and so would the flock. She would make a sharp left and the flock would follow. She was thinking that if this were a work of fiction this flock would have some symbolic meaning. But she couldn’t figure out what it could be. She was never very good at interpreting stories or reading subtexts. But at least she knew this about herself.
“What could a flock of seagulls, flying directly above my head symbolize?” she thought as she made a sudden move towards the water. Even though it was pretty cold out she began to run into the shorebreak. She had on sweatpants and a sweatshirt from the college she dropped out of last year. Her feet were bare. She loved the feeling of the sand between her toes. She ran out past the break line. Her clothes were heavy and wet now, and still the seagulls hovered over her. She was now in water too deep to stand. She started her crawl stroke. She had always been a good swimmer. Her father taught her well before he left. Notice that it was her father who taught her not her stepfather. This might be a hint as to why she was reluctant to run to the beach house.
She was now swimming as fast as she could, directly perpendicular to the shoreline. Her clothes were getting heavier and she was having trouble staying on the surface. The seagulls moved within seven feet of her head. Her stroke was now noticeably slower, and she was starting to get cold. She was probably five-hundred yards out from the beach and the sun was beginning to sink over the mountains to the east. “Funny,” she thought, “doesn’t the sun usually set on the other side of the sky?” This like the seagulls seemed to her to be very ripe with meaning. She desperately wanted to speak to the author, to ask the questions that are always swimming around in her head. Actually if she could speak to the author she would probably forget to ask about the seagulls and the direction of the sunset. There are so many other things she wonders about. First she would like to know why the author chose to say that her father “left” instead of saying that he died. Why would the author try and fuck with her like that? She didn’t think that was very nice.
Her core body temperature was now dropping rapidly and she was starting to shiver. At about 600 yards from shore she reached a sandbar. The water which just 15 feet before was about 100 feet deep was now about a foot and a half. She swam up to the sandbar and sat down cold and exhausted. The seagulls were circling approximately 15 feet above her head. In the pre-dusk light she could just make out the beach house. She thought of her mother and stepfather moving through the house turning on the lights, beginning to wonder where she was. She knew she didn’t have the energy to make it back, and she had no way of signaling to them. She figured this was it. She was very tired, but she didn’t want to fall asleep. She wanted to be awake when it ended. She was shivering now, and the water felt warmer than the air. So she lay down on the sandbar with only her head above the water. She watched as the sun began to sink in the east. The tears began to flow. She thought, “how utterly symbolic. My salty tears mingling with the salt water of the ocean where my father taught me to swim.” She recognized the symbolism, but she still couldn’t decipher the meaning. Then it hit her, the light was switched on, “There is no meaning here. This isn’t a work of fiction, this is real.” She then knew she was going to die there on the sandbar within sight of her stepfather’s beach house. The only author she would find is right there on the sandbar dying with her.
Her mind slowly began to shut down. She was in that land that we all find ourselves right before we go into deep REM sleep or when the acid begins to wear off. Her inner voice and outer voice were now speaking in the same dialect. She was one with herself and with the salty ocean. She felt lazy, relaxed and at peace, and then she jerked awake. The veil of impending death was lifted and she felt a renewed sense of rebellion. Her thoughts turned to her father. He was no quitter, and she wasn’t about to start quitting now. She always blamed her problems on the author, and now she knows who the author really is. Even if she isn’t to blame for all her problems, she can certainly control her reactions to them. She isn’t going to let the author kill her off in such a pathetic way. “If I am going to go down, I’m going to go down in flames,” she typed. “Great, just what I need. A hell-razing independent protagonist who doesn’t even recognize my authority anymore,” typed the author.
[Forever after at http://eyeshot.net/seagulls.html]
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