She was a jellyfish, floating under a wave. Bobbing gently with the ebbing current. Her translucent hair swaying silently around her still face, eyes tightly shut, sealed like death merged with life.
She was the calm in a strong wind. The centre of a storm. The silence as the raging destruction hurled life over a precipice and into the unknown. The deep breath, pregnant with dread.
She was the shadows when you slept, the coat behind the door, the woman silently watching as you tried to coax yourself to sleep. She was there, even though you convinced yourself she was just the dressing gown. Everything looks frightening in the dark.
She was surreal reality, dread behind a closed door. She was the exhibit they ignored, because it made them feel uncomfortable. She was the haunting in Connecticut, the dried eyelids in a box. She was the soft breeze that blew out the candles when the windows were closed. She was the buzzing sound of a wasp when there was none to be seen.
She held her breath for as long as she could, and when she surfaced, life flooded into her in the gasps she took of the air which hummed with oxygen. Her eyes flew open, and reflected the vivid blue stretched over her head. The waves crashed on the distant shore, and her muscles ached with the struggle for life. She kicked, hard, and glanced back. Silhouettes stood on the beach, children’s laughter carried off by the wind.
She was alive, not dead. Death hadn’t captured her yet. The current was far from her curled toes, and she pushed her chest forward with strong strokes of her slender, young arms. Back to the shore.
‘Darling, you were away for so long!’, Mam said, as she meandered with long, swaying strides towards the blanket which lay slightly rumpled in the hot sand. She bent over and towelled her hair dry.
‘I was drinking the sea,’ she murmured.
‘Do you want a sarnie? Before Chris eats them all. We’ve got egg mayo and tuna.’
‘I nearly died, mam.’
‘Don’t be silly, we were watching you the entire time.’ her mother said, cheerfully, handing her a sandwich out of a fat orange Sainsbury’s bag next to her foldable beach chair.
She took it, a fat rectangle stuffed with filling and molded like a pillow in saran wrap. She looked at the sea, crashing gently on the shore. Swimmers splashed as the sun beamed down beautifully.
I could have died, if I’d wanted to.