Jewel Beth Davis and Susan Kerr

Susan Kerr
Inspiration Piece

Swimming Up
By Jewel Beth Davis


So it’s a dream?

…….No, not a dream exactly.

A vision?

…….Maybe. No. I don’t know. I’m not asleep. It feels like it’s really happening.

When did it start?

…….A long time. It’s been going on for a while. Maybe a year.

Did anything change or happen before this vision began?

…….No, nothing.

Well…we’ll get back to that later. So tell me, when you see this…

…….Not see it; it’s happening.

All right then, what do you see as it is happening? Describe it.

…….I don’t want to. I feel it washing over me, overtaking me. Don’t make me.

I promise you. You’re safe. I’m here. I won’t let anything happen to you.

I take a pause and clasp my hands to stop them from shaking. I can’t grab my stomach, which is also vibrating internally. I breathe deeply. It’s not helping to slow my heart. I feel like my entire body will soon come apart, muscle and sinew from the bone. I release a deep breath, close my eyes, then open them.

I’m swimming, swimming, swimming. Up, up through the murky water. The water is opaque. I can’t see anything, except what is directly in front of my face. My head is back as though my face can home in on the surface. I think I’m swimming up though I have no idea. I can’t see any light above. Seaweed brushes my face. It is slimy, cold, and I’m repulsed. I use my shoulder and head to try to brush the bluish-green clinging sludge from my face. It slows me down and I give up the struggle. I’m not breathing. It feels as if I haven’t breathed for a very long time but that can’t be. Kicking furiously, I feel the water surging between my legs, through my toes. My arms are pinned to my sides. I am a bullet. A rocket. An arrow. All I can think is up, up.

Will I make it?

Are you frightened? Do you feel frantic? How did you get where you are?

…….I’m not sure how I feel. I don’t know how I got here. Part of me feels like I’ve always been here. I just know I must get to the ocean’s surface.

I feel headachy and slightly nauseated as I recount this. Then suddenly, I’m not telling it. It’s happening.

What then? Don’t stop. Tell.

Stop? I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I’m here in the water, swimming up.

Why is the water so cloudy? The colors are so beautiful. Colors that melt and shape shift. Not that dark black-blue of the Northern waters back home. Light blue and green with swirls of cobalt blue ribboned through it. Feathers of colors like sea anemones waving on rocks and coral in a watery home. The water caresses me, it is warm and comforting but still I must swim up. I see something…in the water above me…a shape, a form. I swim towards it. I think it must be a fish though I’ve not seen any. As I near it, the form takes shape. It is not a fish; it’s a woman’s face, her eyes and mouth open as if she’s trying to say something to me. The colorless skin is loose and moves back and forth with the whims of the water. Terror and revulsion fill my pores as I propel myself past it quickly. As I do, a sea turtle swims by. I do not want to think about the woman’s face. There is something vaguely familiar and unsettling about it. I continue to push upwards, kicking hard. I no longer feel the water between my legs, filtering through my toes, roaring in my ears. My arms seem to melt into my body. I feel stronger, powerful. The shades of blue and green lighten. Sensing the light more than seeing it, I direct my last efforts upward. It’s the surface. I will make it. I will break through. No doubts. I crash through into the lightening rays of sunlight, sleek and strong. It is sublime. My skin is gray marble, sleek, curved. My breath moves in and out of the hole at the top of my head. My voice is no longer a voice but an ancient song. I am not alone. Many others sing with me.

Hannah…Hannah? It’s all right. You can come back now…Hannah?

The sounds…the meanings…fading away…fading.

Ocean’s Blue (3’x6′).JPG (135 KB)

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