It felt like the waves were fighting over me, jerking me back and forth between them as if determined to share by pulling me into halves. I knew the right way to avoid a riptide: swim parallel to the beach rather than struggling for the shore. But the knowledge did me little good when I didn't know which way the shore was.
I couldn't even tell which way the surface was.
The angry water was black in every direction; there was no brightness to direct me upward. Gravity was all-powerful when it competed with the air, but it had nothing on the waves--I couldn't feel a downward pull, a sinking in any direction. Just the battering of the current that flung me round and round like a rag doll.
I fought to keep my breath in, to keep my lips locked around my last store of oxygen.
The cold of the water was numbing my arms and legs. I didn't feel the buffeting so much as before. It was more of just a dizziness now, a helpless spinning in the water.
But I forced my arms to conintue reaching, my legs to kick harder, though every second I was facing a new direction. It couldn't be doing any good. What was the point?
I didn't want to fight anymore. And it wasnt' the lightheadedness, or the cold, or the failure of my arms as the muscles gave out in exhaustion, that made me content to stay where I was. I was almost happy that it was over. This was an easier death than others I could face.
I saw him, and I had no will to fight. It was so clear, so much more defined than any memory. My subconscious had stored him away in flawless detail, saving him for this final moment. I could see his perfect face as if he were really there; the exact shade of his skin, the shape of his lips, the line of his jaw, the green glinting in his peaceful eyes....
Even as my lungs burned for more air and my legs cramped in the icy cold, I was content. I'd forgotten what real happiness felt like.
The tide was dragging me, pulling me away, deeper into the dark, to the ocean floor.
I love you, is my last thought.
And then, suddenly I can breathe again, my lungs sting as they fill deeply with air, my eyes burning, I can see the brightness again, I'm safe now, I tell myself.
And just when I'm halfway to the shoreline, another wave grabs hold of me. I'm ten feet under and upside down. Barely surviving this heartbreak has become my true purpose, I realize. The current won't let up. I'm being slamed against rocks, they beat against my back sharply. Am I dying again then? I hope this time it comes through for me...