Like a Wet Hug

Kiss me goodbye
Pushing out before I sleep
Can’t you see I try 
Swimming the same deep water as you is hard
The shallow drowned lose less than we
You breathe the strangest twist upon your lips
And we shall be together
And we shall be together
 “The Same Deep Water as You” – The Cure

It’s Thanksgiving morning. The sun is soft and warm, the air is crisp. I’m wearing jeans, a long sweater, and sandals. It’s almost like springtime. It feels like New Orleans, but looks a lot like the Atlantic Ocean. The place seems familiar and foreign at the same time, like a composite of places I’ve been before. I walk towards the water and sit on a concrete sea wall. Concrete stairs lead down to the sands that disappear deep below the water’s surface. I sit there for awhile. I am alone.

I take long, slow, deep breaths, almost as if I am meditating, but my eyes are open and I take in the view. I feel the breeze and the sun on my face, the tiny droplets of spray from the waves that come up to lap against the steps. Each wave brings the water closer and higher, edging towards my feet. I take off my shoes and set them on the grass behind me, behind the concrete ledge where I sit. I lean back, my hands on the grass, feeling every blade, sensing the dampness of the earth underneath it. The waves start to wash over my feet and I feel refreshed. I decide to let every emotional burden go. I set myself free, and I suddenly feel light.

The water moves higher, more rapidly now. I can’t see the moon, but I decide it is full and can feel it, as if tides are swelling in me, too. It is Thanksgiving, it is Easter, it is North and South, all at once, and I rise, beginning to descend the steps. I walk slowly, deliberately, down into the water. I don’t try to swim, really. I just submerge, and I set myself free again.

A bystander has watched me disappear, but they seem a million miles away now. Someone is speaking loudly, but I don’t know if they’re yelling at me or someone else. It sounds like mumbling under a pillow.

My eyes are open. The dirt and salt only itch a little, they don’t sting like I anticipated. I used to breathe underwater when I was a child, playing mermaid in the swimming pool, and I do that a little now. The water feels soft and tepid. It’s like a wet hug. I move around a little, but don’t allow myself to float to the surface. I’m surprised how much I can see here, everything a soft turqoise-brown.

I decide I am at peace and can no longer keep breathing under water, so I stop. I don’t fight it. The water fills my nose and ears and lungs. My body resists a little, but it’s like the shudder of a sigh. I keep my eyes open as long as possible. I want to take in as much of this beautiful underwater scenery as possible. I want this to be the last thing I see, but I want to remember it when I go.

I stop feeling my limbs. At first, I can only move them slowly, then not at all. But I feel my arms float up and to the sides, feel my legs float up and out to the sides, as if the current is gently using my body to make invisible snow angels in the water. Everything feels cool and soft, then cold and heavy. I am experiencing a kind of euphoria. An involuntary smile spreads across my face. I am not sad. I am not angry. I am relaxed. I am finally resting. My body is at peace. I am free. The blue-green-brown around me becomes more and more blurry. My eyelids close. Everything is dark. Everything is black. My cheeks feel soft and cool. It’s the last feeling I feel. I stop hearing the water in my ears. Silence. Peace.

An alarm goes off. My eyes open. I’m in my bed. I’m under blankets. I’m warm but not hot. I feel so refreshed and relaxed and calm. I look around me. I’m in my room in Brooklyn. It’s Thanksgiving. I remember my dream. For a moment, I thought it was real. It was beautiful. I react. I love this dream, but a part of me is ashamed that I do. It was so beautiful, and lucid. I felt everything. I wanted to know that feeling of letting go, but in a way, I was already feeling it.

I understand what the dream means. It’s not a call to take my own life. I am making peace with my body. I am accepting the feelings I can’t stop and letting them wash over me and past me. I embrace my broken mind and body like I embraced the water in my dream. I have stopped fighting myself. But I haven’t drowned.

I am more alive than ever.

 

***

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