It just lay there, doing nothing. Completely still, apart from the occasional slow, gurgling bubbles that broke its otherwise smooth, thick surface. It had been like that for as long as it could remember. It thought of the rain falling every now and then, mixing it up even more. It didn’t like the rain much, as it washed away even the little bit of form that it could muster, making it gooey again.
It didn’t like being gooey. Sure, being a thick sludge had its advantages; like adaptability. It liked how it could take any form it wanted, albeit temporarily. One moment, part of it was a crater to accommodate a stone before it sunk to its murky depths and the immediate next, it took the shape of a fallen leaf, cradling it in its arms as long as it floated on its sludgy surface.
The rain broke it out of its reverie, hammering it with its cool, stinging raindrops as it sought to churn its surface, once again. It let it happen, the way it always did, for there was nothing much it could do. The rain came whenever it wanted and muddled it up a little more, leaving it even sludgier than the swamp it was.
It always thought of its existence as simple. Mud and water, with the stray organic waste from plants and animals around it. Living things, as it referred to them; things with a definite form and a definite purpose too, it seemed. It found it fascinating to observe these living things, whether it was the tree whose foliage spread out over it like a canopy, or the birds that lived in its branches, or the insects that inhabited its trunk, or the rat that lived in its roots. They all fascinated it.
Living things, it thought again, as a bird above it decided to mix its refuse in the muddy sludge below. It wondered how it would feel to have a form, to have a life. Not that it did not know about what it entailed; of course it did, having observed these beings with a definite form and shape for as long as it could remember. It did know. But it did not feel. No. Feeling was something restricted to living things, wasn’t it? Yes, it was.
And hence, it longed to live.
It longed to have a defined shape, a definite form. It longed to free itself of the fluidity that had defined it for as long as it could remember. It yearned to be able to feel specific things in specific places, rather than feeling itself all over the place. It longed to be.
The first time it saw him, it was confused. “What is this?” it thought to itself. “Its form is so well defined.” It observed his long arms, ending in slender fingers, his long legs ending in chiseled feet and toes, his head flowing out in smooth black hair. It observed him for what seemed like an eternity.
It was so lost in observing him that it hardly noticed the rain pummel it again. “Who cared about some rain when there was such a fine living thing to look at?”, it thought to itself.
It was then that it knew what it wanted to be.
The rain finally ceased, leaving the swamp fine and glossy, like it was gossamer-coated. It began to feel itself again, all of it at once, spread out in randomness, but the effort behind feeling itself was different, now. It started to focus on feeling those parts of its being that could take the form of that wonderful living thing it observed, on its edge. Tendrils of slushy mud began to flow and churn as it struggled to hold together the form it had observed. Parts of the swamp glared out in focus as it struggled to hold itself to shape, wanting to be, wanting to live.
It seemed like forever, but shape finally began to form and define itself as it struggled to rise and stood, wobbling, on its gooey legs, balancing its soft body on them.
As it took its first step out of its erstwhile muddy confines, it smiled. It smiled and it felt its newly formed teeth under its fresh brown lips. It felt the night air tickle its nostrils as it made its way inside it, filling its new lungs up. It stuck a muddy tongue out to taste the same night air, relishing the way it felt. It moved its hands about in wonder, every movement making it feel even more alive.
It finally began to live.
It became him.