Floating

By: Jeremy Ridnor

 

Benjamin and Sarah gazed deeply into each other’s eyes as they sail across the cerulean sky on a inflatable rainbow balloon. The aggrandize flame was warm and made the bitter coldness bearable. The hot air balloon gravitated towards the sparkling sun, as it floated over the ocean shore. From the high vantage point the slowly moving sailboats appeared to be a child’s toy boat drifting aimlessly in the stagnate bathtub. The droning sound coming from the adjacent flame suddenly made a crackling noise and then it inevitable fizzled out.

 

Benjamin perplexed by this, got up from his knee in order to investigate.

 

“Is that suppose to happen?” Said Sarah sounding uneasy.

 

Benjamin fiddled with the knobs. He managed to ignite a small flame, but it soon dwindled down to nothing more than a puff of smoke. “That’s not good,” said Benjamin looking befuddled.

 

“What do you mean? Is everything all right?”

 

“I’m not sure.”

“You’re not sure,” shouted Sarah.

 

“Just calm down, I’ll figure this out. I know what I’m doing.” Benjamin picked up one of the propane tanks and shakes it. A slight swishing sound could be heard. He then did the same to the other propane, however the swishing sound could not be heard this time. “Uh-oh.”

 

“What?”

 

“Um this propane is nearly empty.”

 

“Okay, but don’t we have a backup tank?”

 

“Yeah we do, but it’s empty,” said Benjamin regretably.

 

“Empty?” Susan exclaimed, sounding shock. “What do you mean it’s empty?”

 

“I mean it is empty, and I don’t want to freak you out, but there really is only enough fuel in there to last us maybe an hour and that if we are lucky.”

 

“But we can make it back right?”

 

“I’m not sure if we can.”

 

“So what are we gonna crash into the ocean and drown?”

 

Benjamin’s avoided eye contact and did not speak a word.

 

“Benjamin we’re going to be okay right?” Benjamin does not answers.

 

“Right?”

 

“I don’t know what to say Sarah, unless there is an act of God we might die tonight. I hate to sound melodramatic, but it seriously might happen.”

 

“I don’t know what your saying right now.”

 

“Sarah are time is precious I don’t want to waste it. If I die tonight at least it will be with the person I love. You do still love me even though…” Benjamin felt butterflies in his stomach as the silence bathed over him.

 

“I do love you Benjamin.”

 

“Then why did you say no?”

 

“It’s complicated.”

 

“What is? You love me and I love you. That’s all I need to know.”

 

“You just don’t understand.”

 

“Make me understand. I think now is a good time. I know your scared, I would be lieing if I wasn’t scared too. But we will work it out. I know you are old fashion, but I promise this not going to be like a shotgun wedding or anything. I want to marry you because I love you, not because I have to.”

 

“I just can’t.”

 

“Why tell me why.”

 

“I can’t tell you, I just can’t .”

 

“Please tell me why.” Benjamin grabs both of Sarah’s hands and looks her straight in her hazel eyes. “I am begging you tell me.” Sarah shy’s away. Benjamin follows her and puts his strong hands on her ivory white shoulders. “Nothing you say will make me love you any less than I do right now. You’re so perfect. I love you Sarah.”

 

He puts his arms around her breast, and gently nozzles his warms cheeks against her icy cold cheek. His beard tickled her ever so slightly, and she quivered. She began to tremble, and then she cried. Her salty tears cascaded down her face and onto her white lapel. His hands drifted down to Sarah’s belly. He rocked her gently back and fourth as hummed some arbitrary melody in a low baritone whisper. After awhile there was a blanket of silence. Benjamin closed his eyes, his own lullaby made him calm. For only a moment he forgot about the eminent death that awaited him. As of now he was holding his Sarah his one true love.

 

“I had an abortion,” said Sarah bluntly.

 

Benjamin eyes opened abruptly. He unwrapped his arms and looks at Sarah. “What?”

 

“I was going to tell you, I just was…” Benjamin is speechless. Benjamin’s somber face made Sarah stomach turn. “I’m sorry.” Sarah said, trying to think of the best way to tell divulge this information. “I told you no, not because I didn’t want to marry you, it just I thought you deserved better.”

 

“When did this happen?” Benjamin said with no feeling. He felt numb.

 

“A few weeks ago.”  Benjamin turns away in disgust. Sarah yearning to hold Benjamin and comfort him, but she remained frozen. “Say something.”

 

“Why did you do Sarah? We would have been all right.”

 

“I don’t know what to say. Please don’t hate me.”

 

“Why do you think that I would hate you? I love you remember.” Benjamin goes over and kiss Sarah on the forehead.

 

“Really?”

 

“Of course.” The embrace, and then kiss passionately. Benjamin kept his eyes open as he enjoy the sensual kiss. He often would sneak a peak when kissing her. She was so beautiful. Sarah eyes opened too as they kissed. It was a strangely erotic sensation kissing while staring deeply into each other eyes. Eventually the kissing ceased and they were left lost in each other eyes. It was as if time and space stopped. Benjamin smiled coyly, but Sarah began to cry again.  “What is it?”

 

“You are just so so wonderful. I’m a monster.”

 

“I don’t care about that. I was just surprised when you told me that’s all.”

 

“I’m not talking about that.”

 

“What are you talking about?” Said Benjamin sounding worried.

 

“I don’t want to tell you, but I know I should. Especially now. I hate to ruin what might be our last moment together, but you deserve to know the truth. The reason why I got the… procedure done was because… the baby wasn’t yours.”

 

“What do you mean it wasn’t mine, who’s was it then?” Benjamin fumed.

 

“It’s Marc’s.”

 

“Jesus Sarah. Why would you…” Benjamin trails off.

 

“I told you I’m a monster. I’m trash. I‘m just stupid.”

 

Benjamin face is expressionless. He slowly and calmly walks away. He grabs on to the woven railing, and just sink his head down. Benjamin fought the tears, but they came pouring down. The tears trickled down into the vast ocean. He tried to hold back the whimpering, but he couldn’t. He heaved and began to uncontrollable break down. This went on for a little while and then altogether it stopped.

 

“How are you doing?” Said Sarah.

 

Benjamin remained silent. A vindictive thought crept into his head as he stared blankly off into the distance. Sara sense a foreboding event was about to occur as she slowly approached Benjamin. A second ago he seemed so vulnerable and weak, but now as she looked at him he looked strong and almost sinister looking. Benjamin then turned around. His malevolent eyes shimmered as he stampeded towards Sarah. His large hands began wringing Sarah neck. He violently pushed her against the woven basket. His siring eyes were burning with intensity. The sweat glistened as his complexion turned fire engine red. Sarah could not breath, her eyes brimmed to the top of her heads as if they were going to pop out of her sockets. The veins on her forehead became puffy and began to bulge as well as pulsate.

 

“What’s stopping me from killing you right now?” Said Benjamin. He drove his knee into her gut, and then leaned her over the edge just a little more. “Yeah  you like that?” Benjamin bent down to and pressed his lips against her ear. “I could kill you right now and no one would even know.” Benjamin whispered. “And if they some how figured out that I murdered you it wouldn’t even matter because I am a dead man anyways.” Sarah continues to gag. The fear becomes more intense. Benjamin knew that she was almost out of oxygen. “I don’t love you, I never loved you. I hate you and you did this to yourself. Just die… die.” He tightened his grip even more. She then went limp, but Benjamin did not loosen his grip. He shock her back and forth like a rag doll, but she did not move and kick anymore. He had murdered Sarah, and it wasn’t too long before he joined her.

 

Benjamin loosened his grip, and Sarah head bobbled down. The realization that what he done did not settle in. He did not comprehend that he just killed his wife, or that he soon would face a watery grave. He just felt numb. The angry melted away.  He was in a daze. The crackling from the flame was getting louder; he knew the end was near. He was not afraid of dying, at least not at this moment. The morbid notion of death by drowning seemed to almost titillate him in a strange way. 

 

Benjamin was not religious, he did not believe in afterlife, but if he did he knew where he was going after what he had just done. Perhaps before the icy waters filled his lungs he would baptize himself, in order to die with a clean slate. He figured that it could not hurt. The small flame blew out. It was time. The rainbow hot air balloon began ascending downwards towards the sea. He did not want to watch. He sat next to Sarah’s cadaver, and leaned his head on her shoulder. It was cold, and colorless. He kissed her pale puffy lips, and then buried his head upon her supple breast. He kept thinking that he would feel her chest move up and down, but her body remained flaccid and still. His stomach churned as the rainbow hot air balloon picked up speed as it plummeted towards the salty ocean. Benjamin held on tighter to his Sarah. He tried to think of something profound. This was going to be his last thought. He could not think of anything significant. The cold wind blew into his eyes and made his eyes water, and his nose run. He nuzzled up against Sarah an attempt to keep warm.

 

Benjamin looked at Sarah lifeless face. “This is it. I love you, I always have loved you.” Then it happened.

 

The basket hit it hard. The crash launched him up a few feet and then crashed down and he felt something snapped. Benjamin cried out from pain, he knew right away that his leg was broken. He had broken bones before and felt like this. As he squirmed on the floor in pain he anticipated the cold salty water to suffuse the woven basket. A long time went by and yet there was no water. He then heard murmuring.

 

“Are you okay in there?” Shouted some random voice.

 

Benjamin was confused, was he hallucinating? He could have sworn he heard someone speak. Benjamin continued to yell and scream. Then he saw a face peak over. It was some random man. He was wearing a white tux and he had a prominent mustache.

 

Benjamin stop screaming. He looked at this mustache man and thought he was an angel.

 

“Am I dead?”

 

“No you’re alive.” The mustache man hopped into the basket. A bunch of discombobulated head peaked over the edge of the basket.

 

“Is that woman dead Mommy?” Said a little girl.

 

The mustache man took off his white jacket and covered her up, and then shooed everyone away. They people were hesitant, but they did as they were told.

 

“What’s happening?” Benjamin said sounding worried as well as confused.

 

“Don’t worry I’m a doctor. It looks like you broke your leg there. The man quickly took off his white vest and wrapped it around Benjamin’s leg. This should help a little. Do you know this woman?”

 

“Yes she’s is my… was my girlfriend.” Benjamin began to cry. The tears were genuine, but he tried to play it up more to make him seem less guilty. He did not want anyone to find out that he was the reason that she died. “Where am I?”

 

“You’re on a cruise ship.”

 

“Wha… I don’t understand.”

 

“I guess youlost control of your hot air balloon, but you luckily crashed on this cruise ship. You are lucky to be alive.” The mustache man looked at the covered body. “I’m sorry for your lost.” The man sounded very genuine. The emotional pain was starting to trump Benjamin’s physical pain.

 

Suddenly the basket shook violently. It felt like there was an earthquake going on. The shaking lasted for a long time. There was a sudden burst of people screaming and hollering. Benjamin was completely disoriented. The mustache man lost his balance and hit his cranium against one of the propane tanks. Blood gushed out of the side of his head. His eyes closed, he was either dead or unconscious. Benjamin prayed for him to be alive. He held on to the side of the wall as hard as he could. Then the shaking stopped.

 

However the screaming did not.

 

“Help,” Benjamin screamed. “Somebody help.” No one responded. He could hear the sound of feet thumping all around him, as well as people screaming in horror. He had no idea what was going on. He then decided to crawl towards the mustache man to check on him. The pain was excruciating. Benjamin could feel the blood dripping down his leg as he slithered over to the mustache man. He shook him. “Hey man are you okay?” His body was limp and he felt cold. Benjamin repositioned himself in order to feel his pulse. He grabbed his wrist and tried to feel for the slightest pulse, but unfortunately he felt nothing. He was dead. Benjamin had never seen a dead person before. The closest thing to seeing a dead person was when he watched CSI, and now he had wittiness the death of two people. “Help I need help over here. I think this man is dead.” Benjamin was weak and could not yell that loudly. He felt light-headed and he started to sweat. “Please somebody help me.” No one would listen they just kept shouting and hollering.
Then suddenly he heard a bunch of feet stampeding away from the basket. He heard the pandemonium still, but it sounded further away. It was then that he knew he was alone. Benjamin laid down in defeat, but then something strange happened. His back felt wet. The water was freezing. It took a few moments for Benjamin to realize that the basket was filling up slowly with water.

 

“What the…” said Benjamin.

 

That water seeped through the cracks from the bottom of the basket. What was going on thought Benjamin? The water continued to pour into the basket. He then cringed, because his wound was stinging him. He quickly realized that it was the salty water that was making his leg wound sting. His pants where soaking. Benjamin knew that if he stayed in this basket much longer that he would probably drown. However, he had no way off getting out the basket. The walls were too high and he barely had the strength to sit up, let alone climb up the wall. The water was about two feet deep, and he knew that he had no choice. Benjamin shimmed his way against the wall. He grasped the wall with his fingers, and attempted to prop himself up. The pain was unbearable. Benjamin started to cry, the pain was just too much for him. He was doing it though. He finally got himself to stand up. He favored his right leg.

 

Then he lost his balanced and fell straight on his back. It was as if someone had pushed him. He then realized that the water was running downwards. The basket was tipping, but why thought Benjamin? Benjamin tried to get up again, but he kept slipping and falling. All of sudden the massive rainbow balloon covered the basket. The rainbow colored shadow blanketed the basket, and then it fell on him. Benjamin quickly became tangled in the massive rainbow balloon. It started to get heavier due to the water. The water level now was about three to four feet high. It was filling in faster now. The balloon became heavier and heavier. That when it happened. He was submerged in the salty water. He held his breathe. The water stung his eyes, but he did not close them. He wanted to stay conscious and see what was going on. Benjamin quickly started struggling to breathe. He was already out of breath before he went under the water, plus he was an asthmatic. He gulped the water in. The icy water filled his lungs. His body screamed with agony. He swam upwards as best as he could, and then found a pocket of air. However, it did not last long he was once again was submerged underwater. He saw the rainbow balloon sparkle under water. The colorful balloon rippled under the water. It was quite beautiful despite the fact that it was the thing holding him down.

 

Everything was getting darker. Benjamin tried to concentrate on the rainbow, but it was fading into oblivion. It was getting dark, and Benjamin was getting colder. The pain climaxed, and then started to melt away. Benjamin closed his eyes for a moment, and then opened them again. He saw his Sarah floating in front of him against the rainbow background. Her hair billowed as she stared deeply into Benjamin’s eyes. She appeared to be vivacious and full of life, and maybe it was Benjamin imagination, but he could swore that he saw her smiling. He cried once more and the tear floated up to the surface. His tear was a part of the ocean, a part of the sea. He was ready to go and so he did. He was at peace as he floated face to face with his love Sarah under the rainbow colored balloon.