River, By Guest Writer Logan Vangan
There was once a man who was born in a raft as it floated down a great river. This river never began and it never ends. His family had been floating their entire lives. The family’s in the other rafts he saw had been floating their entire lives. When the family had a son it was their duty to pass on everything they knew of the river to him. They talked about what they had seen. What they had done. What they had felt. But the son didn’t care. He wanted to experience the river for himself. He wanted to learn through his own actions in the raft on the river.
As the son grew older he learned how to negotiate the bends and currents of the river. How to seek out and find the best fish. How to communicate with the others in their rafts as they floated by too fast. After some time he became the leader of the raft. His family now sat in the back quietly, waiting for direction. Something nagged at him though like a jab in the ribs to the beat of a metronome.
With the moon slightly illuminating the water that lapped against rocks and branches, the family asleep, his mind raced as he looked out on the sky’s reflection against the water. “I have been floating in this fucking raft my whole life. I didn’t choose to live in this raft bobbing down this river. How is it that we have all come to float this river? Why must we float the river? Why is it bad to pull this raft out of the river? I see the occasional raft at the shore empty. No ones knows where the crew went. Some speculate, but ask 3 rafts and get 3 different stories. Rafters are scared to leave the river and discard their rafts.”
Many days paddling and many nights being pushed slowly downstream he thought about these questions. The more time he took to think the more he became frustrated and upset. Tired of floating. Tired of seeing the other rafters and the scenery drift by and disappear. Tired of noise. Tired of feeling stifled as if he was stuck in a test tube unable to free his arms, legs and head. Slowly suffocating as he lost the ability to think and feel. “I’m going to leave this raft. I don’t care if it kills me.”