Wednesday, 2 April 2008


The surface of the water sparkles with early morning sunlight, and a water-skater skitters across it, tiny feet pressing gently against the tension and failing to break through. Tiny bubbles of air gust through the water, heading for the surface, and I imagine that a silver-red fish noses through a cloud of them, then turns and is gone as fast as I can blink.

The water is beautifully clear, not at all what I'd expected, and although it was cold at first, it has warmed now. It is comforting around me, supporting me, and for a long moment I feel regret again, that the rest of my life has not been like this. I shiver, and force myself to relax, and realise that I had started to float up from where I lie. Relaxing I sink back down again, slowly, steadily. Purposefully.

I can hear my heart-beat in my chest as a pounding of blood in my ears, slow and rhythmic and I am tempted to rest my hand on my chest just above my heart and feel the pulse there beating in time to the one in my ears. I feel a sense of belonging to the universe, an idea that all of me in no longer centred just inside my body, but that I have expanded and become something bigger than I was, something better than I was before. Euphoria suffuses me like a fresh breath of air, and my body feels heavier and yet somehow lighter too, as though I'm starting to break free of it, and overcome mere physical limitations.

More air escapes my lips, and there's a flat sensation in my chest that tells me I've let the last of it go now; my lungs are empty and soon, very soon, it will time to breathe again and inhale the pure water and leave this feeble flesh behind.

There's a huge SPLASH and my vision dissipates into a crazy white haze of thrashing water. Huge, huge hands seize me and pull me up and I am dragged roughly from the womb-like comfort of the water and hurled into the bright, jarring coldness of the air again. I stumble and fall, but I am caught once more and pushed roughly out of the water where I collapse on the hard rubber surface at the water's edge. A heavily pregnant woman with bare feet kicks me in the ribs and spits her cigarette out; it bounces just next to me, hisses and goes out in the pools of water dripping off me.
"You selfish fuck!" she screams, her face distorting like a banshee. "How dare you try and drown yourself in our birthing pool!"

I cough and cough, each wracking breath hot and painful in my lungs while my ex-wife, pregnant with my child, shouts imprecations.

No comments: