Darkness Under The Water

Fiction


Nightmares

 

I am sinking.

I feel the water course through my veins.

I feel myself dissolve into the nothingness.

I hear the soft murmur of the bubbles that escape from underneath me.

It’s getting softer. It is now silent. Lights from the surface fade as I drown. This water is too black.

*GASP*

“Another nightmare?”

My sister looked at me through the doorway with a sympathetic face. I don’t find it to be a nightmare anymore. This dream has repeated itself enough to make me accept its abstractness.

“The same.”

Darkness under water feels safer than darkness in an empty room for some reason. It’s not explainable unless you have been drowned before. As water forces through your lungs because they refuse to stop pulling in whatever is in your mouth, your mind becomes really aware of your heartbeat and breath. There is more understanding in this darkness, because there are sure things to fear. Suffocation is probably the first thing on the list.

I learnt how to swim when I was five, it was really simple. My father gave me a float and said, “Hold this between your ankles and pull yourself across the water.” It came as easily as learning how to dance. Water responded to correct movements and before I knew it, I was swimming. No float, no father, just elegantly pushing water underneath my palms till it pushed me forward. Never felt out of place under water.

Why does it sting so much to remember how easy it was?

Fear has a strange familiarity. It is almost like a parent; no matter how hard you try to convince it that it is wrong, it will force you. It cares for you, it can’t see you get hurt, it is loud, and it is dominant. It is convinced that you don’t know any better.

________________________________________________________

“Bro, this is your best time yet for 50 meters!”

Shit, that was easy, I could probably give a better timing.

“I’ll go again, time me.”

My chest tightened a bit before I kicked off, my dad’s words echoed through my ears, “Those who swim are the ones who are most likely to drown.”

I pushed my feet. 

I have to kick harder, perfect strokes, perfect pulls, perfect pushes, breath! 

Most likely to drown he says. What a joke. Why would someone who knows how to swim drown?

It then hit me as the cramp did, those who don’t know how to swim, don’t enter the pool.

I can’t move my leg! I need to push out of the water with my arms! My arms are burning, my shoulder is making a strange click with every stroke. My hands can’t pull my weight out. The water feels thicker, my chest is screaming. I need air.

“I need air” it says.

As I give in, the water seeps in through my windpipe, I stop coughing. My lungs are furious, this is not what they asked for. They are boiling in fury. My eyes hurt, I feel the pressure clack my eardrums. I have stopped trying to move up. I am still now. It’s over.

The yellow lights inside the pool look strangely bright in the creeping darkness.

I am sinking.

I feel the water course through my veins.

I feel myself dissolve into the nothingness.

I hear the soft murmur of the bubbles that escape from underneath me.

It’s getting softer. It is now silent. Lights from the surface fade as I drown. This water is too black.

Darkness under the water

Am I dead? It feels warm, I feel comfortable.

I smell fucking Dettol! 

I am fucking alive!

THIS IS A FUCKING HOSPITAL!

MY FATHER IS STARING ME IN THE FACE FROM ACROSS THE ROOM! SHIT!

I AM FUCKING EMBARASSED!

“You should be more careful while swimming.” He said as he placed his hand on my head “If Jai wasn’t there, you would have drowned for sure.”

I did drown. But this was no time to correct.

I am alive.

Sketch By: Nishtha Gera


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