Poetry book, maybe?
“Listen”
CHAPTER
1
Dive
“Listen,” she told me, the word warm and gentle coaxing itself of her tongue. I didn’t think twice. I froze, forcing my breathing to make less noise, my eyes lashes less of a breeze, my heart to make less of a drum.
I froze there, unwilling to move, till I hear whatever it was that made her sound like that. I listened, with all of my might, with every inch of my being, determined to hear.
“Do hear it?” A question. A question I had hoped she would not have asked. It hung there between us like a wet blanket, and she didn’t need an answer to know what I was about to say. But I was going to supply her with one, whether she liked it or not.
“No.” It echoed out in every direction, pulling seas apart, making stars fall and die, making rain fall, killing starving children in Africa. It echoed around, slicing through the darkness of the night, leaving blazing swaths of light and color too bright to look at. I turned my face away.
“Harder.” She demanded. And I did. I listened so hard, I thought my ears would burst. But all there was to hear, despite my tedious efforts, was the rattling of my asthmatic breath, the little flap of each eyelid as it was pulled down to meet the bottom rim blinding me for the tiniest second in black, the ba-dump of the drum in my chest, the roaring of blood in my-about-to-explode ears, the hum of the air conditioner not doing its job correctly, the background violins of cricket and cicadas, the whistle of the diving bird after the solitary rat in the corn field. No wind to be heard, no wind moving through the hot sticky night. Nothing to relieve the hotness of an Alabama summer night.
I shook my head, the noise awakening the air, creating a slipstream around my face, ringing out louder than a cymbal through the still, not-so-silent, listening night.
She reached out a hand to grasp mine. Her grip tight yet loose, a perfect balance. A balance I had yet to discover. A balance that said I’m not letting go, but if you do, I understand. I’ll let you let go.
“Listen underneath. Underneath the orchestra of insects, of bodily functions that you can’t control, underneath the hum of humanity that humans have created. Listen, not to the shallow ponds and puddles, but to the ocean that rushes beneath your feet, full of so many layers and deep shadowy places, that you’ll never find the end, not that you’d want to. Listen to the nothingness.”
My response was already built. Somehow, it was sitting there, as if it had been waiting for me to use it. “There is none.”
She turned her head to the side and beamed, her eyes boring into mine. “Exactly! There isn’t any nothingness, not in those confusing mixed tide pools, not in those puddles constantly disrupted by the raindrops that created them and the feet of little children, not in the deep shadowy ocean that you tread on everyday, that ocean that is trying to drag you down, drown you.”
She turned her head back to face the sky, sending shockwaves of noise through the not-nothingness. Her hand clenched on mine briefly before letting go. She let go of my hand.
She brought her hand, warm from mine holding it too tight, and spread it across the sky. “Do you see the stars? The emptiness that surrounds them, holds them in an unmoving current, that hold them in a hug at all the right moments, that makes them glow when they couldn’t on their own?”
Her hand stopped, still outstretched, as if to touch the moon’s pockmarked surface with it. Her face was turned in shadow, as if to hide it from me. Her hand dropped, only to grasp mine, her head turned so that we were nearly nose to nose.
“This is the ocean. Not that silly thing full of saltwater and fish. Not that deadly thing we float on, trying not to drown in. This is the ocean. The one we have to discover. Discover and dive deep. Do you want to discover the sky’s secrets?”
Her voice was soft and seemed to fill my whole being with led. I couldn’t have looked away if I tried. “Yes.”
She smiled, a thing of beauty, sheding enought light and warmth to rival the sun. “Dive.” She whispered, a whisper that carried out through the night. “Dive.”

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