The Survival of Icarus

The Survival of Icarus

By J. L. Thurston

Icarus fell so far, so fast, with a smile baked on his face.

Wax, feathers, and waves of heat dripped upwards into the sky. As he fell, his eyes remained on the sun, his heart pounding with anticipation. He could hear Athens now.

“We told him it would never work. How foolish to waste his life.”

Little did they know, oh those sorry fools.

Into the icy waves, he plunged. So endeth the fall of Icarus, and his story as Athens would know it.

It was a shock, to be crushed by the cold water and be cradled by it simultaneously. His head could hardly process the dueling sensations and he found himself dancing on the edge of oblivion.

He had gone deep into the water. He tasted salt. His skin burned from the sun’s kiss and the water’s embrace.

It was time to surface, screamed his lungs. But where was such a thing possible? He was surrounded by ocean. Up, down, left, right. Water everywhere. Drowning was certain. It was all for naught!

No, Icarus. Remain calm. Remember, Icarus, you flew. You nearly touched the sun itself. You graced the sky with your form, and so you now grace the ocean.

Peace released him of his fear. He let the water hold him, settle him. There was so much darkness in the water, being held at bay by the smallest inkling of light. And so, like in all matters of his life, Icarus found the sun and followed it. Strength returned to him, his arms beat against the currents and the cold, his eyes upturned toward the heavens, an exact reenactment of his flight of feathers and dreams.

Survive, Icarus. Fly, fall, swim, and live.

Icarus broke the surface of the ocean. The day had hardly noticed his struggle. The gulls squawked and squabbled, the breeze reached cooling tendrils into his matted hair. And there was the sun, his beacon of hope. Outward, he reached his hands to it.

Warmth clasped around his wrists, pulling him with ease from the water. His lover lifted him into strong arms and, with the power of a god, they flew to shore. Over sand and rocks they went, landing deftly in the shade. Kisses and grins, palms pressed, they raced through the forest with the glee of children. Naked and free, strong and alone, Icarus and Apollo at last could be together.

In their secret place, deep in a valley with gamboling rivers and wildflowers they would live away from those who would curse and throw stones. Icarus’ father would never know his boy had survived his fall, and Athens would never speak ill of him again.

Where the wind and the wildlife were their only company, Icarus was free to lay in the arms of Apollo, safe and warm at long last. In their valley they built their home. Apollo would move the sun across the sky, and Icarus would bask in warmth that came from within. Glittering flesh, peaceful spirit, and soaring heart. In his mind, Icarus flew every day.

And when he looked at Apollo, Icarus fell.

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