Sinking

A sudden pang of pain hit my left arm, then my left lap, and swiftly some sort of paralysis grazed all the energy in the muscles. Slowly it got darker, and darker, I knew I was sinking from the sun, from everything I knew; my family hundreds of miles awaiting my return, my friends who sensibly played it safe at the shoreline.

An hour or so earlier, we had arrived the beach, a team of new colleagues. That was to be our final picnic before we were scattered across the country, after a rigorous six month training course in telecommunication. It was my first time on a real beach.

Maybe I wasn’t aware of the danger yet, but I was sinking, sinking on my first day in an ocean. The pain in my muscles was racking my brain and I couldn’t move the arm and leg, and the other two good ones were perhaps still waiting for an impulse. Maybe my body was stupefied or something, but my mind still was unperturbed. There was a flash of my childhood.

Back then when nakedness meant nothing, I had enjoyed, not swimming, but sinking to the floor of my village stream whenever we visited, pretending I was a fish. I would cease my breath for minutes and kept my eyes open in the clear water, and picked fine pebbles, while I let the gentle stream carry me along till I got to where we called the ‘deep-side’; I would make a u-turn because I never really liked it there. No kid liked going there because we all knew one manner of legend or another about the deep-side, which water level actually was a little over my breasts at the deepest, and the main stream was barely over my groin. Yet I felt I knew all about swimming, especially when I could terrify the other kids by pulling their legs because they wouldn’t see me coming.

The air in my lungs was fast spent; I could feel a non-descriptive pain rising from within. I strongly felt like coughing but I knew I’d let water flood my lungs if I did, and I let the pain push.

I didn’t see this coming. We had just finished running along the beach, taking snapshots and then sitting to watch the wave rise and fall, while we ate our fried chicken, and drinks. I saw a few daredevils disappear under a hundred –meter high tumultuous waves, only to reappear on the calm behind. Then I saw him, her, whatever, swimming into the endless distance of the ocean. I think I was fascinated. I could do it.

Without saying a word, I left my friends and went to satisfy my urge to have that water around me, to defy the strength of its huge powerful waves.
Don’t panic. That was the only strength I got from my soul. And deep inside I felt I was not destined to die in water. The pain in my arm and leg, the rising pain in my lungs, the flashes of memory, the growing darkness, the sinking, maybe I was losing control. It was like floating in a vacuum, I wasn’t on the surface and I and hadn’t touched the floor. A while ago I was on the Atlantic maneuvering waves. It was such a beautiful feeling of calm under those turbulent waves, but now I was sinking and, did anyone out there even know?

Maybe it was the pains that pushed me to push, maybe it was just pure adrenaline, the instinct to survive, or the innate believe of where my death shouldn’t be, but I frantically pushed upwards and kicked behind , and suddenly the arm and leg that didn’t feel like mine responded with a barrage of tingling. And a few more pushes and I was at the surface of the water though a little far from the beach. The air tasted like milk and honey, and the world around held a different view of splendor. I saw this huge wave approaching, and held on and let it hit me.

It hurt a little though but it got me to safety. I looked around and saw my unsuspecting friends, and at that moment, I was really scared.
2009©J.Ifeme

Comments

  1. Was this real, it is so scary. You portrayed the experience very well.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was real, MYne, and that happened to me.

    ReplyDelete

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