Where does the good go


I went swimming every morning. I had one more full day on the island before I flew home to New York and, although I didn’t know it, just three more leisurely days of unemployment.
I left my towel and room key on a lounge chair. I took off my coverall and wrapped it around my flip-flops. I walked quickly to the ocean and waded in. The water was always very cold at first. I walked further in and let the tide pull me down. I bent my knees until I was submerged up to my neck. I jumped up and down at this depth until I stopped shivering.
Then, I put my head under and went swimming. I taught myself to swim; though I did have a personal trainer, about ten years ago, who showed me how to cup my hands and square my shoulders. I do not have any technique to speak of.
I close my eyes, kick my legs and push handfuls of water behind me with each stroke. I find the water calming, quiet. This morning, as I had the morning before, I swam until I was tired. Unfortunately, this morning, unlike the morning before when I was probably still a bit jet lagged from my Saturday flight, I didn’t get tired until I was many miles away from shore. I straightened up in the ocean and looked around. The hotel was little more than a white speck on the horizon.
Water, water. Everywhere.
I panicked.
I felt something brush my legs.
I heard a noise in the distance.
No way could a boat see me out here. I would be caught in the propeller.
No one would know what happened to me.
When would anyone even notice?
I flailed my arms as hard and fast as I could toward the white speck.
I was breathless in a matter of minutes.
I saw something out of the corner of my eye.
I quickly turned my head to see what it was, but by then, it was gone.
I took a breath, and water flooded my mouth and nose. I started to cough.
I was no closer to the shore. But I could see it.
I stopped moving. Laid flat in a deadman’s float and begun to drift with the current.
See, Dawn? Nothing’s wrong. You’re alone and safe. Rest. We’ll try to get half a mile closer to the shore and we’ll rest again.
Then do another half mile.
When they are not yelling at me for calling raises with a gutshot, or missing obvious bingoes, the voices in my head can be very comforting.
I dipped vertically beneath the surface and stretched my body toward shore.
I took easy, steady strokes forward.
No need to panic. I was safe and alone. I had time.
I took a break and treaded water. The hotel was in full focus now. I could make out figures on the beach.
I wiped the water away from my eyes and took a breath of the sea air.
My legs kicked in place.
I don’t know exactly how I got here, inattention, I suppose.
But I can get back.
I will.
I drew one more deep breath and got back to work.
I would not stop until my feet could touch the sand.

13 Responses to “Adrift”

  1. Rick Blaine Says:

    what happened? how does it end?

  2. fisch Says:

    She didn’t make it. I’m guestblogging this post.
    Sorry y’all. But a memorial service is being held at seaworld tomorrow.

  3. Jamie Says:

    Did Dawn drown? In her own metaphor?

  4. fisch Says:

    The memorial will be held at the shark exhibit. We’re pretty sure she’s in there, as one of the sharks just burped up a misplaced modifier.

  5. Dawn Summers Says:

    How did I go from “waa, no one commented on my post” to “where did I find these jerkfaces?”

  6. fisch Says:

    Which one would you rather be at?

  7. Dawn Summers Says:

    Jerkfaces. :(

  8. Pdov Says:

    I have found myself in that situation so many times – and yet I love the Ocean and can’t wait to swim in it this summer.

  9. Dawn Summers Says:

    By the way, correct answer is “I would notice! I would notice right away and send help. In fact, I am sending help right now.”

  10. Ugarles Says:

    Here, hold this anchor.

  11. Dawn Summers Says:

    That is NOT help!

  12. Joe- aka Unimpressed Says:

    Am I the only one thinking… Just stand up! You’re only about 10 feet from the beach.

  13. pearatty Says:

    I would notice. I would say, “hey, why is Dawn’s strawberry daquiri all melted?”

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