The passing of time has no effect on the mind or body whilst embarking on an oceanic voyage. The seconds turn to minutes, minutes to hours, hours to days. The food turns from plentiful to scarce, and filled with weevils. The water from clear and cold to hot and moldy. Maps become useless things as your compass fails to work in the proper manner. And still, you keep rowing. The marks you make on the board of the boat count the passing of days, and they show only a month has passed, but it feels like years. You’re stuck on this boat, with no land in sight.
It has been this way on my rowboat for months and months, never ending. Time continues to needle your sanity, with nothing to pass it. The wings of Time have long lost their feathers, and nobody is there to understand the torturous pain of being stuck with no company but your own self for years on end. To put it simply, I have been on this boat for centuries, at least that’s how it feels. The carved marks of the wood show only two years, but I’m sure some more marks have been washed away, by the wind carrying the fine grains of sand. Sand on the wind means land is near, but I see none looking at all sides of the boat. The amount of people I have encountered is limited to the pirates. People. A strange word to say, for it has been a very long while since I encountered one that didn’t try to kill me. My boat has been burned and mangled, ripped to shreds by the waves, and gotten stuck between rocks. As always, I float in the air and a new boat appears beneath me.
This must have been the worst choice of my life. My friend dared me to spend a day in VR, and virtual reality is not nearly as fun as it may sound. Especially when it’s my least favorite place in the world: the ocean. In real life, I’m only on a small pond built in to my house, but it does not feel that way. The only thing keeping me from removing my goggles is my pride. This is not natural, and my brain has become muddled with these odd words and expressions I’ve never used before. Time has become a proper noun. I know it’s only been two-thirds of a day, because one day feels like three years in VR, but Time has tricked my brain.
Perhaps the worst part is, all of this is basically real. When I through up my contaminated food, I really do through up contaminated food. The moldy water is actually moldy, as far as my digestive system is concerned. Even my mind sometimes strays from the truth, convinced I’m actually stuck in the middle of nowhere on a small rowboat. Which isn’t far from what is actually going on. I still have ages to go in this horrific Monday. Days and weeks and months, while at the same time, only hours.
Back at my house, I know my friends are reading my thoughts, and I can’t help but wonder how slow they must be. I was given a notebook to write of the experience, which you are reading now. I didn’t feel like writing till now, the peak of my boredom. The waves are rocking me as though I were in a cradle, and I think I will go to sleep now.
When I awake, the sky is stormy, filled with the promise of death. Death, which is impossible or I would have died long ago in the previous storms. Of course, the gentle touch of death strays far from me, leaving me in an endless loop of the day before. The days continue to pass, endless. I wake up, and eat my sorry excuse for food. I don’t need to wash, no matter how dirty I get, because I know only a day has passed. I change my clothes, and walk to the stern. My mind is aware I have done this everyday for ages, but my body pays it no heed. Next, I write in this book, the only thing that changes, but I can’t control how long I write. Thirty minutes everyday, then I fall asleep. When I wake up, there’s a storm, so on, so on, and then my ship is run aground. It shatters, a new one appears with food water. I sleep, and repeat the day again.
Nothing ever changes. Nothing changes, that is, until it does. I wake up, and it is morning. I stand up, but I don’t want to walk to the stern. Instead I walk to the bow. I don’t quite understand it, but I somehow understand I can do whatever I want today. This has never happened before, and is quite confusing. I hear a sound through my headset, and it sounds like people talking.
“We can’t see him anymore. We don’t know what’s going on. Yes, he’s been using the VR. We don’t know what to do about it. Yes, he’s been writing in the book and we can read it, but the writing just stopped suddenly.”
This struck me as odd, because I am writing right now.
“So, Jeff, apparently the new VR headsets have an error, and the people who use them are stuck in the world they were exploring. It is no longer programmed, and actual death is possible. The officer said they are working on fixing them as soon as possible, but make no promises.”
“What are we supposed to do? Neil is stuck in there until they fix it.”
I yell to them, “Guys, I’m right here!” But they don’t seem to hear me. From what they’re saying, the raft has been empty for days, and that is why I have been on this rowboat for so long. They don’t know where I am, and at first they thought I bailed, but they noticed the notebook still was being written in. Well, I’m stuck in here forever, on this tiny boat in the middle of nowhere, and the situation isn’t changing anytime soon. Unlike my life.