It had been three days since Meg was caught and thrown back in the water. Meg was a fish.
She thought about it a lot. Biting down and feeling only searing pain. The tug-tug-tug upward through the water and then – gasp – breaking through into the air. Gasping for oxygen, surrounded by air. Blink-blink-blinking as a middle-aged Hispanic dude in a florescent windbreaker held her down on the top of a white cooler and yanked the hook out. Pain again. Then the perfect, serene moment as she hung in the air, twisting slowly as she fell alongside the pier before – SPLASH – hitting water.
Now, three days later, how was she supposed to react? Did everyone expect her to go right on living as if nothing had happened? As if her mouth didn’t bleed and scab over? Was she supposed to count herself lucky and treasure the gratuitous life handed her? Even after a molestation like that?
Mostly, she was stunned. She swam listlessly, feeling water pour over her mouth scab. Lately she found herself going limp. Still awake, but limp. She would just let the tide push her against a buoy, as she silently blinked-blinked-blinked at the world around her, for hours. Or she’d let the wake from a boat spin her over and over. Just drifting.
Every once in a while she got mad. What – she wasn’t good enough even to eat? Not worth the humdrum effort of a quick hammer blow to end her life? She was rejected even by her enemies, not worth anyone’s time.
She thought of suicide a lot. She would flop up onto a raft and cough to death in the oxygen and sun. Or maybe she would scrape off her own gills on some coral and suffocate under water. She knew that if she found a gaping predator mouth big enough, she would swim right on in. She didn’t doubt that for a second.
But all there was to do between now and when she plucked up enough courage to do what the fisherman had failed to do — end her miserable life — was to keep on existing.
Mountain Goats write anthems for the suicidal who, thus far, have chosen not to commit suicide. AKA you and AKA me. [Transcendental Youth.]