The Merits of Diving

24 07 2009

This is intended to be part of a series of thirty snippets based in Dublin. There will not be any happy parts.


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I was fourteen years old that summer when I watched Donny die down by the bathing place at the Forty Foot, just around the back of Sandycove Beach. Powered by a dive, he used his neck as a switch, the rocks hidden below the water line as a finger, to turn off the lights. When we dragged his long blonde body out of the sea onto the rough concrete at the edge of the water, it was quivering with stray nerve impulses, exerting their finite energies in a futile attempt to reanimate their now-smothering cloak of meat. The stuffing of his neck was gone, crushed by the impact, and when his head, with its weight of now-useless pudding, slipped to one side, a final throe caused water to spill from his mouth and over my bare feet.

I recall that part so vividly, the water from his mouth was hot, even hotter than the sun-warmed concrete where I stood. Sometimes, I fancy that the fluid leaving his grazed face represented his body’s last effort to jettison the tiny nucleus of being that once controlled it, in the hope that, ejected from the moribund, there would be some small chance it might land in a place where it could continue, could find some other vessel to prolong its existence in the world of matter. To think that the remains of Donny, his soul, or essence, or whatever, was gasped over my feet on that day makes me want to puke. That was many years ago, but my memory of that moment is polished, like a jasper, impervious.

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