Two Steps Back
Underwater, nothing seemed to move. I’ve never felt so helpless.
Where have the days gone? I think to myself as I feel the whole world move past me. I’m motionless–stuck in a current so strong my arms and legs are tired from swimming so hard.
I remember that time we were in Krabi, on a tour to swim with sharks. Nobody mentioned about the current. The guide told us to jump off the boat and swim behind them. I was excited at first, especially to see sharks. But then I realized my limbs were moving but I wasn’t getting anywhere.
Everyone except Jeremie and I were left behind to fend for ourselves. They began to look like tiny dots in the distance. I panicked. Don’t leave us behind. I swam harder and the current pushed me back. Underwater, I’m seeing the same coral. Nothing seemed to move. I’ve never felt so helpless.
I was ready to give up and just let the current take me, but then I felt a hand grab me. The guide saw us struggling and came back to help us. No words were exchanged. They came back and pulled us out of the current.
It took me years to realize that I’m not a good swimmer. I’ve never really tried to properly learn it. However, I do know how to stay afloat. I’m capable of frantically moving my arms and legs just enough to keep my head above the surface. And when my limbs become too tired, I’ll lie on my back and float–something my mom taught me when I was younger.
Floating on my back, I can see the sky–clear, blue, and calm. My ears are submerged and I can hear the world below the surface.
Sometimes, I think about holding my breath and staying underwater for a few minutes to drown out the noise outside. But I realize that the world underwater isn’t completely quiet. It comes with a different kind of noise–a little muted, somewhat diluted, but still…
I’m not sure when I started calling it that. I don’t mean to sound dramatic or want people to think I’ve gone to the deep end because I’m not there yet. My head is still above the surface. I’m just recently finding myself swimming through a strong current and my limbs are starting to hurt.
I’m not worried though, because when my arms start to give in, I’ll just roll on my back and float. I always do.