The surface is a threshold. It can be cracked and searched for. It is a marker, a place holder of serenity, normality, and calm.
The surface can be scratched and broken in search of what is underneath, above, or out of sight.
When drowning hands claw at the water, fight against gravity and reach for the surface. Reaching for a place where air can be gulped and drawn into the lungs in order to keep moving.
Surface conversations are used to skirt and dart around the chasm of real life experiences in order to keep emotions at arm’s length. Social decorum dictates that real emotions are to be avoided in public. Real emotions are too private to be shared for everyone to see.
When a surface is cracked and broken the raw underbelly of life is exposed. Some recoil in horror and fear of seeing the rawness of life in another. The ugliness of life is sometimes too much for others to handle. They wish for the safety of the surface.
Those who have seen the rawness exposed before and have experienced the ugliness of reality may not retreat too far away. Even then, the rawness is greeted by a sharp intake of breath – a brief wincing of the eyes at the sight. Words stumble out without thought; platitudes are spoken because society deems that words are supposed to be said. If enough words are said quickly enough maybe the situation will be covered. Maybe then the situation will drift back to the safety of the surface. Maybe the sweet scent of the surface will be reached and the underbelly will return to the underneath. Maybe breath will come easier – at the surface.