- AUTHOR: Beat
- TITLE: The Instant
- CATEGORY: Drama, Romance
- RATING: PG-13
- SUMMARY: “You can only truly describe something once you’ve lost it – ‘you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone’ and all those things.”
- AUTHOR’S NOTES: This is my attempt to write a Matrix story that transcends the usual parameters; characters, timeframes, settings. In this story, those things don’t matter. All that matters is the voice of the narrator – it’s up to you to figure out who it is. Could be anyone, depending on how you choose to listen to the voice.
One of the few things I have genuinely missed from my old life, maybe the one I have craved most of all, is the sensation of wetness. I don’t know why, it does seem vaguely absurd to obsess over such a seemingly insignificant sensation and value it higher than other things long gone, like great art or literature. But then, who ever said that the human mind made sense? If there’s one thing I’ve come to realise, it’s that it doesn’t.
Wet, just the word, the taste of it, still reminds me of bliss. Thinking about it, bit by bit starting to obsess over it, just having to feel the sensation behind the short, one syllable word. It’s ridiculous, I’ve been unplugged for a long time, have long since grown adapted and accustomed to this new life, the real world. But still. The real things that I feel here often feel like nothing more than poor ersatz products. I suppose it serves to remind me that reality isn’t pretty, that most things I remember with a smile were constructed to make me smile and keep me passive. But still…
Don’t get me wrong, I would never, ever trade what I have now for a swim in the sea. Never. My friends, my family by choice, by destiny, and in battle, are here. I love them. Most importantly, the thing I share with one other person, something nobody else will never quite grasp, is here. It’s more real than anything I’ve felt in my life, and I wouldn’t – ever – trade any of this for anything. But I digress.
What we speak of as we say the word “wetness” in this, our home, is nearly an insult to the feeling I associate with the word. I suppose the programs designed a good simulation of it, because if my mind ever ached for something, the feeling of wet and moistness in its true sense must have been it. I wish there was a way of explaining it…I suppose though, that you can only truly describe something once you’ve lost it – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone, and all those things.
Imagine the cool, humid air on an early summer morning, walking home from a club. Five in the morning, head still throbbing lightly with the beat of silent music. And the air. The way it would fill your nose, throat and finally lungs, leaving you refreshed and shocked at its sheer purity. Clean air in the city, sure, you’d think. But the point is the humidity, moistness, of the air. It cleanses, comforts. And then imagine it gone forever. Imagine the same happening to the slowly melting ice underneath your palms after you’ve fallen flat on your face because you can’t ice-skate properly. Imagine it gone. Or rain, any kind of rain – autumn’s cruel blizzards or gentle summer showers. Imagine them gone. Even picture your back never sticking unpleasantly to a car seat in a traffic jam in August, ever again. You see? But you don’t have to imagine them gone – they already are.
The air in all our rooms is dry and cold, and though it does its job of keeping us alive as we fight, speak and lie in bed just like I am at this very moment, it doesn’t hold any comfort. Comfort is important to people. I always felt like a complete idiot at even vaguely romanticising my old life – a life I never really lived, a lie in its true sense – though I guess sometimes even the most pathetic thoughts and fantasies serve as comfort.
No, the air here doesn’t hold any comfort at all, and the absence of simple things like rain, even showers, always made my bones ache in frustration. I would often catch myself wishing for a mug ofproper water instead of this vaguely metallic liquid. This is proper water, I’d remind myself and curse my childish behaviour for days afterwards. Sometimes I wish I could just have a normal shower instead of rubbing my cold body with disinfectant powder, but though I’ve often doubted its efficiency in the cleaning area, it is a great way of saving energy and vital water supplies. It just didn’t seem fair sometimes.
Up until this very moment I thought I knew what I missed. And I’ll be humble and honest, forever after this I will laugh at my pathetic cravings. Why? It’s all very simple.
I am aware that I’m flat on my back in our narrow bed. My hands, surprisingly hot but completely dry, are drawing random patterns over the very familiar but no less welcome back that hovers above me. And it is right then, in one blinding instant, that everything changes and suddenly all I feel are the soft words being murmured into my ear.
“I suppose we should stay quiet, hmmm?”
That sweet, sweet voice, those gorgeous lips nipping at my ear. And oh, the wet kisses it leaves, the glorious traces of saliva on my skin that disappear, vaporise as my temperature rises, but are replaced with new ones as lips paint a trail from my right ear down my jaw. The cooling puffs of air that cover the moistness, leaving my skin prickly – but for a good reason this time – and me aching for more. Lips and tongue don’t stop there, oh no, they continue along my throat and collarbones and my breath sticks in my lungs, I have to remind myself to breathe. Breathe, damn it. My hands, I notice, are now far from dry and I know that the burning wet trail will not stop until much lower on my body, that it will be long before I am released from this beautiful agony. Thank God for that. I finally let out a breath, my exhalation too loud and desperate to be discreet. And it is then, as my lover chuckles quietly above me, resuming the pattern across my chest, I promise myself never to miss the sensation of wetness again. Good simulation or not, nothing will ever come close to this. Nothing, ever. This is it. This is it. This is. This.