Drown or Be BOULDER
My body was being swallowed by the sand. The tide rolled in and I felt my breathing begin to speed up as I gasped for air. My inhales became panicked and I struggled to hold on to every bit of carbon dioxide that fought its way out. Each breath could be my last. The water was approaching quicker and quicker and there was nothing I could do to stop it, for I had no arms, no legs, no head, no control. Victim to my environment, I felt the weight of the ocean swallow me. Day in and day out, this was all I knew. Looking around me, I saw the rest of the small mounds enveloped with like helplessness. None of us moved. We knew if we tried, nothing would come of it. We had tried before but it became easier to numb ourselves to the pain and drown alongside one another. Though I hadn’t yet learned to love this situation, it got easier and easier night by night. Day time was okay, for we could gaze up at the sun and watch the others run and play as we sat and joked, almost forgetting our reality. We rode with the current, bracing as the waves momentarily stole our breath.
Then came the day. It couldn’t have been more unexpected. The past weeks had been rough, more rough than usual. It almost seemed as if the waves were targeting me. Every break hit ten times harder than the previous, each one rocking me from my comfortable bed in the wet sand that I’d spent years inside of. But then came the wave.
I gazed up and saw a large creature from hell, taunting me from its heights. It seemed to keep reaching, looming, stretching to the sky like an interminable lightening saber toy that shoots up exponentially. Feeling its shadow cast upon me, I thought I had time to prepare myself but right as I was trying to calm my nerves and pray to gravity to keep me safe in my little divot, the wave shot down at the speed of lightening. The water was flying at such a high velocity that it shot its way right into my safe space and ricocheted off the tiny walls before launching me upwards.
Everything I knew was gone.
I was alone.
I was going to have to find my way all by myself.
I didn’t know where I was going to land.
My small body hit a startlingly hard surface, wet and jagged.
Everything went black.
Blinking my eyes open, I looked around to find that nothing was familiar. My view was different. SPLOOOSH! I heard… I heard a… Was that?… Was that a… Was that a wave? Anxiety dove into my minuscule body. Why was I still breathing? Why didn’t I feel it? Why wasn’t I in pain? It didn’t hurt, I said to myself. IT DIDN’T HURT! I screamed aloud.
I spoke too soon.
The wave must’ve been larger than the previous. But it hurt momentarily and then went away. I was able to keep an almost steady breathing pattern through the whole episode. Though the impact was lightened and I had a more well-rounded view, I felt my body begin to wobble from side to side. It was only then that I snapped back to and tuned into my being, finding that I was teetering on the perch of a much larger heap. When I turned to the left, I saw the empty indent in the sand. When I turned to my right, I saw a new, comfortable looking home. Most important, I realized, was when I looked in front of me I saw the rest of the small bodies who’d been tossed up here as well. I saw them climbing towards the next larger mound which was barely in my line of vision, for they had a better view of it from where they rested.
I could go backwards, it was my easiest option. I could stay where I am, just a little effort needed. Or, I could push myself forward, my trauma forcing me to this point. Was I going to make it worth it? Was I going to utilize this new view I had been given? Was I going to choose the hardest option with the most risk but most potential reward? Was I going to challenge myself like never before and work alongside these other bodies, extending words of encouragement to those who may find themselves in my same position? Hard work was inevitable, but as I watched those waves hurdle toward us, I let out sighs of relief at every one that could no longer inflict pain on me. Did some of them reach me? Yes. But the higher we went, the more distance we put between ourselves and the turmoiled, turbulent force.
With all my might and all my courage, I took a step. Just one. That was good for today. It’s not a race, I told myself. I’m going to take this one step at a time until it turns into a jog, and then a run, but only at paces where I can maintain my breath. So I stood strong in the current, my body relaxing as the water ricocheted off me.