1: What I Saw in the Water

I’m not sure I should even be writing this down here. Part of me thinks I should be telling everyone, shouting it from the rooftops. Part of me thinks I should be telling it to a shrink, because it can’t be real, logically it just can’t. But I know what I saw, I know it was real, and I know I can’t talk about it. It’s not just that no one would believe me, it’s not that I’m afraid of people thinking I’m crazy… there’s another reason why I can’t tell anyone. I don’t fully understand it yet but right now all I know is that I have been forbidden by something more powerful than myself… is this what people who believe in God feel like… like you know someone knows what you’re thinking and that they want you to behave a certain way? That’s why I have to write this down. She got inside me, the thing that I saw, and she knows it too. What happened to me today has changed my life. I’m sure of that.

I was walking along the edge of the prom like I always do on stormy days. I was remembering when dad used to take me down there in rough weather when I was a kid and we’d run along the promenade, dodging the big waves that crash over the barriers. A huge wave crashed below sending white spray up the curved wall of the promenade and over the sides, showering me in cold water. I wiped the saltiness from my eyes with the sleeve of my hoody, and that’s when I saw her. At first I thought it was a swimmer, there are some people who swim on days as cold as this, but not even the bravest of them would swim in water this rough. I shouted over to her, thinking she might need help, and she turned to face me, completely at ease in the violent water. That’s when I realised she wasn’t human. Her skin was grey and speckled at the edges of her face like a seal and her eyes were a kind of blue that people don’t have, dark and shiny like the shell of a mussel. But the bewilderment you think you’d feel at seeing something like this was overshadowed by something else. I felt an overpowering sense that I shouldn’t have been looking at her, like I was intruding. I felt guilty, like I’d done something really wrong. But at the same time I felt drawn to her and couldn’t look away. It was a feeling I’ve never felt before and can’t fully describe, but I felt like starring at her was the only thing I should ever want to do for the rest of my life. Not because she was beautiful, she might have been beautiful, in fact I think she was, but this was a different kind of pull. It was something more powerful than what happens when you see beauty, even if you saw the most beautiful thing, it was beyond that. And it wasn’t because I was looking at something I thought I didn’t believe in either, it was something bigger that wouldn’t let me look away, something she was doing to me. What scared me the most was that I wanted to get in the water. To try to swim over to her, to apologise for looking, or just to see properly and be closer to her, I don’t know. I didn’t even notice the rain getting heavier and soaking me through my clothes, or the sting of the spray hitting my face as I stepped up on the first rung of the waist-high barriers over the sea. Just as I was about to climb over the next rung she let herself sink down. Without even closing her eyes, she slipped beneath the surface of a momentary dip in the dark swells. I couldn’t see her anymore, and that’s when I realised what I was doing. Would I have jumped? I’m not sure. When she went below it was like waking up from a dream. But I still couldn’t leave the bay. I waited in the rain, watching the waves for her to return. Two hours went by in what felt like five minutes as I stared at the moving water, imagining her face and long dark hair flapping in the wind. I willed her to surface again, but I never saw her before the sea and sky turned dark. 

Tomorrow I’ll go back and look again. I’m afraid, but I have to go. I need to see her again. I feel like she wants me to now. Does that make it right? I don’t know. I’m so confused. I know I shouldn’t feel like this and I know it’s dangerous to feel so out of control, but I’ve got to find her again. She won’t leave my mind… she wants to see me too, and I know she wants to see me alone. When she stared at me from the water, that’s what she was telling me. I can’t tell anyone. As much as it goes against everything I know is right, I just feel that I need to obey her. I’ll be careful tomorrow. I definitely won’t get in the water. I think it was the shock of seeing her that did it, that made me feel like I wasn’t in control, but I think I can keep my head on next time. Am I kidding myself? I’m scared because I’m not scared. I’m not scared of drowning, I want to be , I know I should be, I know I used to be, but I’m not now. I know she’s changed me somehow, but it’s like I’m glad of it, as if I want to be changed. Maybe I shouldn’t go… I really don’t know what I should do, but if I said I believed I could resist the pull I’m feeling I would be lying…if you’re reading this then perhaps I’ve drowned… all I can say is that from the way I feel right now there was nothing I could do.

2 thoughts on “1: What I Saw in the Water

  1. Wow! That was well told — taut and brimming with a sense of mystery and danger. I actually shivered a little!

    Like

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