A thought keeps occurring to me lately.
It’s a memory, really. I guess it’s also a longing.
There I am, upside down under the water. My vision is blurred by the molecules of water and the sun is skewed by the waves. I’m alone, the pool is mine for the moment. My brothers have chosen other forms of entertainment for the hot summer day. I was always the swimmer. Once I hit the water, I didn’t stop moving. Except for this moment, and the rest of the moments like it.
It’s quiet here. Just me and my thoughts, unencumbered by the distractions of bustling surroundings. Just me and the water. I close my eyes, wishing this moment could last for more than thirty seconds, but I can’t seem to beat that time. Even then, by second number twenty-three I’m not enjoying my secluded world so much as I am struggling to remain in it.
I thrust upward, my hands finding the sides of the ladder, my mouth colliding with fresh oxygen, ready to steady my burning lungs. I keep my eyes closed so the water droplets don’t sting them in the wind and air. I steady myself with one hand and wipe the drops away from my eyes, opening them to a foggy, but authentic view of my home, grass, pets, and trees. My ears attune to the cacophony of insects and rattlers. Reality hits me as my moment of isolation escapes. I steady my breathing and prepare to go under again. When I’m ready I close my eyes, plug my nose, and slowly lay back until I am vertical and parallel with the ladder.
For the first few moments of my underwater peace, I feel as though I want to cry and scream and laugh and dance. All at once and as purposefully as I can. I want to live in those moments completely free of the insecurities and expectations that plague my over-wrought mind. Yet at the same time, I feel completely wrapped up in them. This is reality. The quiet moments are where the truth seeps in.
I am twelve or thirteen. Already the world has given me reason to escape it.
Though, as stated, the moments of escape are short and burdened by the weight of reality.
At this point I turn my attention to the physical. Instead of rising from the water again, I kick my legs free from the ladder that entangled them and flip myself over away from the edge. As my legs find themselves under me, my head bursts free from the pool. I gasp at the coldness of the water shocking my sun bathed legs. A smile comes to my face and I continue to swim and play. The moment of heaviness is gone. The thoughts of freedom and suffocation elude me as I return the present moment.