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It was a new day.  Was it?  Had a day actually passed?  It could be a new day.  Suddenly I find myself in the kitchen staring at the coffee pot slowly sweating as it got hotter.  I stare further into one small droplet and I’m transported into a memory of the swimming pool I used to go to as a kid.  I used to love swimming, most of the time I would go alone but not always; other times I would go with my sister or some of our friends.  But I loved to go alone.  I always believed that if I could breathe underwater I’d always be so much more at peace; an empty swimming pool is sometimes better than an empty book store, like staring at your ceiling in the dead of the night, it opened up the walls of my mind and let my imagination loose.  I hovered in the chlorine water, miles from the surface, and suddenly it wasn’t chlorine at all but salt water.  I was in the sea and amidst the dark shone the beautiful bright bioluminescence of the Jelly and Angler fish that swam as still as corpses.  Then the darkness disappeared and my eyes were greeted with hues of violet, turquoise and saffron.  

I didn’t need to breathe.

A pod of Orcas made their way calmly passed me, with the two smaller ones coming close to inspect this not-fish floating in the ocean before the clicks and higher pitched calls of their mother called them back to the pod ahead.  I stare at them and felt a small amount of happiness before a very large feeling of dread.  The sea became furious and red.  The pod of Orcas fought with all their might to fight the battering rams of wave after wave.  They’re separated and the male is flung up above the surface of the thrashing, frothing waves and tossed against each new hand that formed.  It cries for help but the others are being pushed against the current.  The last thing I hear of them are their shrill, mournful cries before being taken away by the current.

I don’t need to breathe.

The storm settles and the vehement reds become olive and chartreuse, algae surrounds me and clumsily tumbles over my skin and through my fingers and toes.  It is gentle and kind.  A thousand million hands gently guide me forward through the green haze and stillness of the ocean.  As I do the sun shines its coruscating light and falls softly on the citron water and I can see all the way to the bottom.  Small figures approach.  Their backs are cylindrical and their fins barely visible, except for when the curtain parts from the small ripples made from the kicking of my feet.  The turtles are two and they approach languidly, one, the larger, with a stick held in its mouth and the other, who was considerably smaller but wider, carried a doily on its back.  Both become level with my eye line and blink slowly.  I looked at their eyes and see a ghostly blue that is both calming and familiar.  They look to be smiling in a both pleased and – once again – familiar way.  The male, who was the larger, let go of the stick in his mouth and let it drop lazily into my right hand, I see now it is not a stick but a walking cane.  The smaller female picks the doily on her back and watches as it tidily finds itself around my neck.  They both blink in a slow nod, give a weak smile before flying through the green mist, upwards and towards the surface world.

I don’t need to breathe.

The world of colour disappears.  Black tendrils envelope the surroundings like ink in water and I have returned to the world of the dark and I am worn out and weary.  My heart pounds as strong and as infrequent as thunder.  I am falling now and the water becomes cold, and in the cold I fall further and further and falling still, in an eternity seconds pass and I have found the bottom of the ocean.  It isn’t the coarse sand I feel below my feet but hard and smooth material, like bone.  I can feel the gentle brush of the sea weed and the small crustaceans rush away from the disturbance I have caused.   

I can’t breathe.


Silence.  And nothing but.  The light had all gone and only the sensation of the gentle current of the Dead Sea remained.  I could feel nothing else, and then nothing at all.  Tired.  So tired.

I wasn’t breathing.

Silence is followed by a sound, a resonating beat that thuds through the body and snares my attention.

Light erupts and all the colours cascade into my mind with reds and greens and blues and yellows, each race through every corner of my mind.

 

I need to…

 

I feel the waves once again, but this time they are gentle; each like a soft hand waking a child.

My back was laid on sand.  It wasn’t coarse like the kind I knew but soft and inviting.

 

I wanted to …

 

I gasp, cough and splutter the sea water.  My lungs burned with the remnants of the brine and I cough some more until they’re clear.

 

I could breathe.

 

The Kitchen remerges and I haven’t move a muscle.  My face is damp but it is not from my voyage but from sweat. 

The coffee pot goes on standby.  I hold myself for a second and regard my surroundings.  I can see myself in the reflection of the glass cupboards.  I can see our family photo when from when we all went on our last holiday to Greece. And I can see a photo of my Grandparents next to each other, smiling months before they passed away.

Life’s an adventure Kid, my Grandad used to say.

No, not an adventure.

An Odyssey.

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