Death by Water

“You’re being irrational.”

“I know.” Sandra’s grey-green eyes matched the sight below her, mesmerized by the crashing of waves against one of the few beaches left in the world. She didn’t look away, not even to meet the irritated gaze of her husband across the restaurant table. “But doesn’t it get to you, too? It’s so… huge.”

Mark rolled his eyes and took his annoyance out on a dinner roll that didn’t really deserve it. “Sandy, do you have any idea how much I paid for this view? The least you could do is try to enjoy it-or tolerate it, for the sake of our anniversary.”

“I told you I was afraid of water.” Sandra didn’t look up. The ocean was far below them, but she could still see the waves, reckless and unconstrained by the neat, sanitary conveniences of human life. Once there had been many oceans, covering the majority of the planet’s surface. Now most of that had dried up, which in Sandra’s eyes made life tolerable-but this one still persisted, and here she was confronted with it. She couldn’t look away.

“I didn’t think you were this serious,” Mark muttered, putting the maligned roll aside on a china plate. “I mean-” He picked up his glass of purified, recycled table-water, the highest quality. “Look at this.” He waved it in her face. “That doesn’t bother you, does it?”

Sandra finally glanced up, then frowned and flinched away from the glass. “No, not as much,” she conceded. “But that’s different. The ocean…” Her eyes strayed to the window again, caught in the billowing waves. “It’s so huge. So… violent. People used to die at sea, you know.”

“Sure, in the dark ages,” Mark scoffed. “And it’s not huge. It’s miniscule; barely a tenth of what it was when our great grandparents were around.” He pulled out his cellphone. “I can punch it up on satellite and prove it.”

“No-Mark, it’s okay.” Sandra sighed and tore her eyes away from the ocean view. “I’m sorry. Let’s just enjoy our meal.” She smiled wanly at her husband, who finally put away the cellphone, though not without much grumbling.

Throughout dinner, Sandra was careful not to look out the window. But she could feel it, crashing silently just outside her vision, a malignant and uncontrollable force-perhaps the last uncontrollable force that the world held. Sandra kept her eyes on her plate, but when she and Mark finally left the restaurant, her expensive glass of water remained untouched.

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