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Authors: Rolli

The Sea-Wave

BOOK: The Sea-Wave
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Contents

Memorandum Book

The Sea-Wave

If I Were the Leaves, I'd Be Dead

Circuit Sam

The Loner

Murder

Writing

The Angel Lady

I Have No Friends

I Have a Giant Uncle Who's a Refrigerator

The Whale with the Harpoon Earrings

The Roses

The Sea-Wave II

Tan

Writer

Autobio

Disneyland

François' Cathedral

Coral

Shit

Dandruff

Major Depression

Bacon Bones

The Sea-Wave III

Odour Coat

Bickersteeth

Library

Chad

Anything

Blue Magnitude

Emotion

Hazy and Lost

Gyokuro

The Credits

The Sea-Wave IV

Leaves

Smart

Soft Room

In Dickens

Pessimism

The Leaning Tower

Anxiety

Goliath

Angry

Thunderstorm

The Sea-Wave V

Don't Talk

My Devices

Jaycee

Lurleen

A Thought Cloud

I Hate Myself

The Constipated Broccoli Kid

Caitlyn

Rachel

Whales

The Sea-Wave VI

An Ideal Secretary

The Fifth Dimension

The Minimalist

Wilkins

Something

The Half-Kid

Mrs. Ramshaw

Halloween

Likes

Meteors

The Sea-Wave VII

Paw-Paw

Rose Bush

X-Rays

Naked Dad

Creakle

School

The Sad Kid

I Don't Want to Grow Up

Home Life of the Victorians

Run

The Sea-Wave VIII

Every Day

Macey

Music

Red Hands

Abilities Camp

Smudge

Drawing

Dentistry

Symphony Under the Stars

Dream

The Sea-Wave IX

The Sad Fly

Observation

Conversation

Walking-Stick

The Glass Jar

Shining Star

Jane

Bodyguard

Helen

The Sea-Wave X

Sunburn

The Sun

One Rotund Tragedy

Something

Green Acres

Again

The Sea-Wave XI

So Much

The Sea-Wave XII

Collapse

Black Hole

The End of the Story

Leaves

Mom, Dad

Pain

Untitled

Acknowledgements

About the Author

Copyright

for anyone

who has ever drowned

Memorandum Book

W
hen the old man stole me I remember thinking: At least I have my memorandum book. It was in the hanging pouch on the left side of my wheelchair, with some pens and raisins. In the right pouch was my new copy of
David Copperfield
. My old copy got ripped apart by shitheads.

My memorandum book is two hundred unruled pages. I filled up most of them before I was stolen, so I'm fitting things in where I can, writing everything down that I can.

The old man . . . The first time he talked was along the road with the roses. He bent over and his beard brushed the top of my head. I reached up to shoo the fly but felt his dry beard.

He could be talking about himself, his own life. Or remembering something. Sometimes I mix up things that happened to me and things that happened to David Copperfield. It'll be hard, writing my autobiography.

I'm not sure he's talking to
me
but I'm writing the words down. I'm a slow writer but he speaks slowly.

I'm the old man's biographer, too.

I'm scared to death.

He's coming back.

The Sea-Wave

I
hear the sea. In the deep of night, I hear it. As I lie awake, and often in . . . my dreaming.

It was a prison. A kind of prison. A cell, of stone. One could hear the sea. It shattered on, the walls. Beading them with water. I could feel this, in the darkness, sliding my hand. My terror was always that the walls would
truly
shatter. That I would drown, on wet stone.

The brothers. They came and went freely. Brother Ulgoth was a dark man. His skin, an African's. When he moved through the halls — I soon knew this moving — it was . . . the moving grass. His robes. I would close my eyes. I would imagine grass, beneath his black feet. I would listen, to the rushing of grass, and then his voice at the grille of the door.

“Are you comfortable?” he would ask me.

I was so seldom comfortable. I would seldom say anything but: “Yes, I am comfortable.” Our ritual.

“I am so pleased,” he would say.

And he would move away. I would stand there, listening. To the grass. In the wind. Imagining.

And there was brother Godslee. He came instantly and without sound. Delivering food, water. I talked with him, sometimes. We talked often. Though never . . . for any length. I would be speaking to him, about some small thing. About food, perhaps. And then I would ask him: “Where is this place?” Or: “What is the name, of this place?” And then he would change. His openness, would close. A curtain. He would say not a word, but turn away. He would pass me my bread, and turn away. He would slide down the hall like the crust of bread, down my throat. He would go. And I would remain. Wondering.

I was one evening, sleeping. I did not often sleep. The waves kept me awake. Sometimes I slept, for I woke one evening. There was something. The sliding, of something. A familiar something. It was . . . the grass.

“Are you comfortable?”

I sat up. It was not the time. It was the customary voice. It was the question. But it was not the time.

I could not answer, I did not. When a man wakes in the night, when he is suddenly woken, he feels . . . he is hanging. From his feet.

I said nothing. I listened, but heard nothing. It was silent. I lay down.
My imagining.

I attempted, again, to sleep. I was nearly sleeping. But I was again arrested, by a sound. It was the moving grass. Then a breathing, at the door. The grille. And the voice said:

“The sea-wave comes and goes forever. It rushes against everything forever. Nothing, not iron, survives it. For the sea-wave flows forever. It takes away everything, forever. All crumbs, and the phantoms of all things. Until they're nothing. Everything, we have. The good things of earth. The miserable things. All suffering. All, is salt. Your bones. They will wash away. It will take them, the wave, away. The Earth, itself, is salt, and will wash away. In the wave. For it comes and goes, forever.”

I closed my eyes. I close them again, remembering.

If I Were the Leaves, I'd Be Dead

W
hen Tay-Lin comes over, just before, I take the elevator to my room and hide. I'm not afraid of Tay-Lin, she's pretty and shy. I just don't like being around people much. I go to my room and shut the door loudly, then open it a crack and listen.

Mom must value Tay-Lin as a listener because she never shuts up in front of her. Only sometimes do I hear this leafy sound which means Tay-Lin is speaking. When Mom asks her over I know it's because she's got something on her mind and she wants to dump it onto someone else's mind. She talks about things she probably wouldn't talk about if she thought I was listening. Or if Dad was around. One time she told Tay-Lin she didn't care much for milk in tea and she never really loved my dad. She married him because it was something to do. It was an uncertain time in her life because she was having seizures. She wasn't supposed to conceive on seizure meds but god's an eccentric and she's proud she was gifted with such a beautiful child. When she said that I shut the door and cried for a long time. When I opened it again I could just hear leaves.

Another time, Mom said how hard her life was and wondered why god was punishing her. I'm not just a wheelchair kid: I double as a kind of holy wrath.

Listening to her, overhearing her . . .

It's listening to acid rain.

BOOK: The Sea-Wave
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