Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I never knew what to do with people. I'd dive under to try to avoid each dissapointment but it seemed everytime I came up for air the angry sea caught up with me. Every breath became harder, every blow made me weaker, I was drowning.
Maybe it was my fault, venturing into the water when I didn't know how to swim. Everyone else made it look so easy. No matter how hard I tried to learn, I just couldn't get it right. I convinced myself I didn't like the sea because I couldn't enjoy it, and the notion that I was only - barely - surviving made it a frightening monster in my mind.
I stopped trying eventually. I let myself sink, tired and bruised, into the deep dark emptiness. I lay there, my limp body against the cold sand, for a long time. I was sure I was dead. I waited for the sharks to come tear away what was left of me - skin and bones - my insides were empty. I was hollow. They never came.
It was when I stopped fighting that the current had enough strength to carry me. I had given up, it was stronger than I was. My fate lay in its path. We travelled togehter, in silence, until I started feeling warmth again. I was floating. The sun shone through my skin, slowly replacing the freezing numbness with a tingling heat.
I took a risk, scared though I was, I opened my eyes. I could see, clearly. Like I had discovered glasses after a lifetime of blurred vision. I had thought the bluriness was clarity. That it was never brighter than shadows.
In the distance, somewhere along the horizon, there was an island. It was still far away and my body was still sore but I could feel myself floating in its direction. So I waited a while longer.
I was close now. I felt something. Something inside. Fear. Hope. Excitement. I knew then I was alive. And full.
Cautiously, I stretched out my arms, I pushed against the water with my feet, I tried. I was swimming. I could swim. Somehow along the way, I had finally figured it out. I knew in my heart, my beating heart, that I would be safe if only I reached that island. My strokes were still clumsy, and I too frail to gain speed, but I knew I'd get there. And I did.
I walked up to the beach, leaving the sea behind as I felt the sand between my toes. I was home.
I had work ahead of me yet. A life to build on my island. With bathtubs and bicycles and cherry trees. But there was time. As long as I had my island I would never drown again.

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