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Into the Waves
Words by Ryo Shaw
When was it? When did the thought, the concept first enter your head? It wasn’t a special moment, you remember. You walked down your twisting drive way in orange shorts, your mother not far ahead. Your six year old brain realized it all at once. It felt like an icy hand that would push you, head first into a pool seven years later. That hand, you think, never really let go. In fact you were quite taken with it. Lured, by that sweet smelly summer day, you have followed it for what feels like as long as you can remember (That’s the funny thing about childhood memories isn’t it? Everything could be the first thing you remember if you forget hard enough).
You chose to forget what he looked like. You don’t think it matters. You have chosen to forget everything except his first initial. B. Who knows what that could mean? Sometimes you rattle off a list of names in your head when you’re bored and done thinking of all the other ones you’ve decided to forget. Bruce, Billy, Bryan…boredom. He was chubby. You chose not to forget that. He wore blue swim trunks and was the first person you ever heard say the word brilliant! That was hot. They’re hotter when they know words you don’t. But he was an awful swimmer. You cannot forget that. Just like you cannot forget that it was him that pushed you in.
Water is so quiet once you’re in it. The muffled voices yelling might as well be another part of the silence. The hand on your back lets you hover there. People are beautiful when they sink. The chlorine tastes different in your lungs than the lake water you suck in three years later.
You chose to forget how it happened. You were swimming at the lake. Your skin had finally deemed the water to be that right kind of refreshing cold, rather than the teeth-chattering-I-think-I’m-getting-hypothermia-in-the-middle-of-summer chill that it was famous for. A pair of cold hands push you under and hold you there. You never start thrashing. Even when the hands let go you sink down further. You have developed a taste for it.
Cold can be comforting once you get used to it. Like a promise. It would always be there when everything else fell through. Every time you’d start to sink, it was the ice cold of those arms that let you hover, holding on with the promise to never let go. That’s the sort of devotion you needed, you craved. You didn’t need or want anything else.