Believe whatever makes you feel better.

Legs skinny as spring twists. Toes blue-white curled around a hard, unforgiving ledge. Clipped wings, bones of shoulder blades jutting back under tight, goose-pimpled skin. Chest stretches upward, pulled by the gravity of expectation and inevitable disappointment.

The ocean waves lap far below, taunting. Spray sprinkles shattered rainbow shards through the air. The wind as it twists around jagged rocks and through snakelike holes cries in a thousand immaterial voices, “Fly.”

So you try.

And it’s a long way down, but the time it takes is a breath and a blink before the feeling of freedom is torn away by the lash and crack of the ocean in your face.

Down through a tumble in darkness confused you fall, roll over, and cannot find up. Alone in murky dark, you reach for purchase and find only your own hair and limbs to tangle about in.

You wish a spear of light from the surface would stab through the deep and grab you. Catch you, flailing fish without gills. Drag you back to air.

You are waiting, but this one gasping breath with only last so long.

The dark is closing in.

The end is coming.

And bubbles made of screams will only pop into nothing.

The universe wanted you to succeed? Were you sure you read that right?

Perhaps the universe is indifferent and we are but vibrations with painfully self-aware egos that ache to be more than we know we can be.

Or, maybe you are not drowning but swimming and the surface is but arm’s length away and you have a pretty long reach. And kick upward is all you’ve got to do. Hold your screams in to fight gravity and break through.

Why? Because the universe wants you to.

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