This is part two of a short story written especially for TBoS. Make sure to read part one first!
A wave takes me.
I’m thrown from the raft, and swallowed by the ocean. The weight of the water pushes me down; my eyes are closed, but I know I’m far away from the surface. I don’t even try to fight it. Instead, I let the water carry out its punches and, one by one, they take me.
Once there was a time when I was wearing a short sundress. I can remember it now; the sun was burning the skin on my shoulders. I felt so pretty, beside you. As you watched, I walked right into the ocean until the water nipped at the rims of the fabric. I thought that moment was a glimpse of forever. I remember turning back towards you, grinning, as you stood on the shore. I had no idea how far I had drifted away.
I’m holding my breath, but I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to hold on for. There’s a heat prickling under my skin, and it’s starting to take over. It’s overwhelming; I wasn’t made for this, but I’m in far too deep now.
For a long time, I struggled under the weight of so many things, but there was always someone to help carry it. To help carry me. Now, I have the weight of ten thousand water-boulders pressing down, crushing my chest.
And I’m so alone.
Perhaps it’s better to be sucked in by the ocean; to let the waves and the water just fill me up. I imagine opening my mouth and screaming, screaming so hard that my lungs are set ablaze, burn and become ash. I imagine sinking further down, and imagine the nothingness. I imagine the nothingness and wonder if it’s better than the struggle, than facing this ruthless storm and its incessant punches on my heart.
And then I imagine this.
I imagine laughing and dancing in the ocean. I imagine the water taking bites of the cotton on my dress. I imagine standing there, alone, and I imagine digging my toes right into the sand. I am digging my toes right in, and I am watching my feet as little crabs crawl over my bare skin. I imagine making sure not to hurt them as I dig in just that little bit more. I imagine treasuring that kindness in me.
In the distance, there is nothing but water, and I love it: I imagine finally finding a place that is mine, and mine alone. I imagine the sun above my head kissing my skin, rather than burning it. I imagine a moment, a moment that’s only mine, and I cling on to that thought. I cling on to it so tightly. So in my mind, I imagine that I am strong, that I am in control, rather than everything else being in control of me.
No. I’ve decided. It’s not better to be swallowed by the ocean. It’s much better to face the waves and the storm and to be mightier than both.
I open my eyes. I think it’s time for me to throw the next punch.