• Steph Shuff

The end of the world

Updated: Dec 22, 2019

I have been to the end of the world, to the very edge of time. I don’t know where this memory comes from, but it is there in my mind, like a forgotten note that I have picked up off the floor. My handwriting is there on the page, but I can’t remember writing it.


I was shipwrecked at the edge of the world, cast upon the sandy shores of the farthest corner of the roundest sphere. Many had been shipwrecked there before me, I could feel their souls wandering the small stretch of beach, lost forever amongst the ruins.


The beach at the end of the world faces south into an endless ocean. The sun never rises or sets, but instead sits overhead for eternity, casting its endless midday heat on the cloudless turquoise sky. The water provides no respite from the heat, for it is cursed and nearly frozen; to touch it is to turn to ice.


A westerly wind descends down from the mountains and brings subtle sounds of civilization, a painful reminder of where you were, where you may never be again. It sweeps the fine white sand across the beach, you can see it traveling over the ground like a dusty, stinging mist. The crash of breaking waves is endless, a ceaseless soundtrack to the rest of your life.


I met a woman there on that beach, Luisa. She could take any living form she pleased. Sometimes she was a fish, playing in the breaking waves. Other times, she was a bird flying over head, catching the wind on her long white wings. Most of the time she stood at the edge of the forest as a long, lounging palm, her trunk bent listlessly over the white sand.


At the end of the world, I lay along Luisa’s bended trunk, and she gives me shade from the eternal sunshine. We talk about the lives I have lived, the abandoned souls she has met on that empty beach. I don’t know how I got there, and I don’t remember leaving, but I remember Luisa. Luisa with her long swaying limbs, her cool, simple shade.

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