Girl has a phobia of the ocean that threatens to send her over the edge
|The large grey fish went down, his skin like slime, and his eyes searched through the large body of green. I felt his teeth scrape against my delicate, terrified skin. I closed my eyes and my mouth opened to let a scream, but then I felt the cool swish of water, and everything became quiet and red; maybe it was my blood or the insides of my eyes. I was floating, then I felt a firm, warm grip, and when I opened my eyes, the credits were slowly ascending with the haunting voice of an unfamiliar singer in the background.
It was after that day that I didn't walk too far into the ocean or a pool, because every time time I close my eyes I can see the grey smooth skin slowly coming towards me, opening its wide jaws taking me in one bite, or the rough back of an alligator pulling me into the depths of the ocean, and the salt water suffocating me and burning my eyes. I could see my arms failing to push me up, while the unbrushed teeth pull my body under for its meal.
I could feel my mouth opening, and inside my head, I can hear the sound; the desire for freedom, but then he would silence me as I departed the world in an unconventional manner. Friends would beckon for me to remove the thin cardigan and feel the warm liquid caress between my toes or the warm sand easing the stress of the city. They would lie back and stare at the sun smiling and then they would fake their own death, by going down and staying there for awhile. At this point, my breathing would become rapid and my palms sweaty, because I could just see the creatures of the dark capture them, ripping them apart and taking them to the underwater graveyard.
I remember once when I couldn't sleep. I refused to swallow the blue and white pills the tired eyed doctor gave to me. I awoke to the sound of water swishing and blasting from my computer. I covered my ears and screamed. When I stepped off the bed, I swore I felt water encircle my ankles and the ticklish feel of fish surrounding me in the darkness. The sheets twisted around my feet and I fell. I felt the water in my hair, my ear and eyes. The light switched flicked and light rushed to every corner of the room, saving me.
“Sandra what’s wrong!” My mother yelled. I couldn't explain, because I didn't even know the answer to my own fears.
She pressed the power button on my computer, and the room became normal once more. I couldn't sleep that night. I kept seeing the glow of water, beautiful but haunting, beckoning me to join the world of sea creatures. I couldn't understand how girls loved mermaids, because they scare the daylight out of me. I couldn't imagine living in the dark with sea weeds brushing against my legs and oversized whales swimming above or riding on the back of dolphins while they spray water in my eyes, taking my ability to draw daffodils and lie on gold grass while staring at the flaming yellow ball hanging on the blue blanket and white pillows.
The next day, after the episode in my room, I had a fever. Perspiration bathed every crease and fold. My hair curled as the moisture soaked through every strand. My mother slowly placed me in the bath, and I felt my heart go faster until I began to breathe ahead of my own control. She dropped the rubber duck and toy shark in the clear water, without realizing my fear. She ran the soft sponge over my back and in my hair. The coolness soothed the burn of the fever, but the water kept running into my eyes, and the shark got bigger and swam slowly towards me, opening its mouth to take me. I fell back into the clear hell into unconsciousness.
I woke up in a white room. A stethoscope lay cold on a table. The hospital gown ruffled nosily as I struggled to sit up. I could hear the worried and hopeless voice behind the glass door. The white coat entered before the smiling doctor. My mother came in behind biting her nails. Her hair was untidy and her eyes red. He touched my face; his fingers were cold, a little wet. I shook my head and looked at the brown file folder on his desk.
“She needs fresh air,” he told my mother, I shuddered. Fresh air means a vacation with the promise of the hell rushing in too close to the building. It meant a day of rain, making the ocean's arms rise, and the sea creatures escaping its embrace and not dying, because the rain would turn to a flood. They would slowly glide into the windows, knock down doors and take us under to the dark graveyard.
The sweat came again, slowly making my legs and face wet. My eyes rolled back and I felt the sturdy arm lift me and run. I could hear the commands and the constant shuffling of feet. A rush of wind swept through my hair and permeated through the whole building.
My mother wrapped the blanket around me and pressed my head into her lap. I can hear the crashing waves and see the sunset on the far side where the creatures dwell, waiting for me. But now I am safe on the rock. The little blue pills shake around in my pocket. She takes me slowly to the shores. I cry when my feet touch the water, but she helps me. I have to squeeze the grey toy shark they gave me, slowly I am healing. Friends bypass me when beach invitations are sent out, but I am coping. Summers are spent at rehab. I am rare like the others who sit in cardigans, afraid of the dark hell.