He awoke slowly, in spite of the sun beating down on his face and stinging his eyes. The water was lapping gently onto the beach near his head. Confusion struck. Where was he? He dragged his hand up to shade his eyes and realized that he felt drugged. He rolled his head to the side and all he saw was water. No boats, no dock, just water. He searched his memories, trying to figure out where he was, but there was nothing. He must have went on quite a bender to have forgotten this thoroughly. Why was he on the beach?
He swallowed, or rather he tried to swallow. His mouth was so dry, his tongue swollen and rough. It felt as though his mouth was full of sand. His arm already growing tired from holding it above his face so he let it drop. He needed to move out of the sun and find some shade. And some water. Forcing himself onto his side, he tried to stand. Stumbling, weak and shaking, he finally stood on his bare feet. The hot sand burned the soles as he started for the water. He looked down in confusion once again. ‘Where did I leave my shoes?’ he thought. He was wearing his favorite jeans, hell, he even had on a belt. His tropical print shirt was still as ugly and garish as ever. He couldn’t figure out why he’d even be wearing it. He’d bought it as a joke to make his girlfriend cringe. The thirst interrupted his thoughts once again.
Something nagged at his sluggish brain. He was so thirsty, he just needed water. He remembered just as he started to lean down to scoop some up with his hands. He couldn’t drink salt water. It would be like drinking poison. He turned slowly, still not used to being upright, his body screaming at him for water.
There were no buildings. No people. No hint of civilization as far as he could see. He was on some remote, uninhabited island. The breeze taunted him with the hint of normalcy as he tried to tamp down his panic. ‘Where the hell am I?’ He thought, trying to keep the screaming in the back of his mind from reaching his mouth. ‘How did I even GET here?’
He stumbled towards the trees. All of that green surely meant that there was water nearby, right? He made slow progress, his feet burning and stinging, his muscles weak and nearly useless. It felt like he’d just had the biggest workout known to man. A smile flitted across his face. Maybe he’d worked out so hard yesterday that his dreams were making him pay for it. ‘Yeah,’ he thought. ‘This is just a dream. I’ll play along.’
His body aching, begging for a rest, he finally reached the trees. The trees were ripe with what looked like mangoes and coconuts. His brain tried to understand what he was seeing. He was from the Midwest, he’d never even made it out of the USA. Seeing this tropical fruit just hanging from trees like apples was so alien to him it once again struck him that he was surely dreaming. He watched as his hand reached up and plucked a mango from the tree. It was so ripe that he was able to break through the skin with his fingers. He watched the juice bubble up around his hands, dripping down his skin before he realized that he was wasting precious liquid. He stuck the fruit to his mouth and sucked down the juice like he was a toddler sucking on a juice box.
It tasted like Heaven. He knew he had to be dreaming. Nothing could possibly taste this good. He gnawed and sucked on the fruit until the meat was nearly gone and grabbed another. He’d gone through several large mangoes before he felt even slightly sated.
He stood staring out at the crystal clear water, the blindingly white beach, feeling the breeze on his sticky skin for some time before the fatigue hit him like a wave once again. He sat down at the base of the tree and fell asleep.
(to be continued)