I had no real intention of drowning myself in the Pacific that day, but I wanted to see how far I could swim out before the fear set in. I had heard of this innate instinct we all have to survive, although I'd never actually experienced it. I wondered if perhaps I hadn't really ever been terrified enough for it to kick in. I imagine it's like the doctor hitting my knee with his mallet only to discover my leg remains limp. What should be there, isn't. Fear nor exhaustion ever set in, nor did my inner voice tell me to swim back. Even the lifeguard was sounding a whistle but I was too far out to hear anything or anyone in detail so I just kept swimming further out. I just turned and watched, amazed by my own sense of peace and calm.
Tears were streaming down my face, into the sea. It's continuous, the sea and my guts and maybe that's why I felt so safe. I don't know, on paper it all sounds so foolish, but I was just trying to find a minute of quiet with him. What's ironic is that I had felt as though I was drowning ever since my sister called to say that he had died, but floating out in the water was the only thing to make that feeling disappear, it was the only thing bigger than my sadness. A welcome catharsis.
I can liken it to H.Houdini and some great escape. I swam out locked and tethered in confusion and had hoped to break free in the depths of the sea, before drowning. In a way, I suppose, that's exactly what happened. When I came back up to the beach, I felt cleansed. I felt forgiven. I felt grateful to be alive.
So when you asked me to tell you something important about myself, I cringed and told you that I live in my head a lot. What I wanted to tell you was a story like this. I wanted to warn you about my lack of survival instinct or my stupid ability to fall in love with anyone kind, my relationship with the sea, and a bunch of other stuff I wouldn't say out of the fear that I would reveal too much.