The water was crystal blue. Small waves rippled and came in slowly, elegant and carefree. White birds flew overhead, mostly in silence. White sails glided by. The blue of the sky came down to meet the blue of the water at a hazy horizon. Light, water, and air swirled and gleamed and wafted purity to shore.
She stepped out of her way and came to the water. She passed the people running, walking, talking on their phones. She passed the couples and the clusters of teens on the cement stairs. She came reverently to the swaying blue and white. She came ready.
She came to the water and sat before it. She looked out to the blue, and then down to its very edge, down to where the duck crap pooled and the color was slightly green. Just beneath the dirty water she could make out large slabs of rock and concrete whose bottoms faded away into the dark deep. She felt a jab of fear but kept looking down. This was the water she had come for.
She would take in the water with its beauty, just like everyone else did, and marvel at its almost perfection. But it was the water beneath the crystal surface that had always been her home. It was for the water in the deep that she had longed, and it was the water in the deep that she had feared.
For so many years before, the dark cold beneath had flooded her mind. For so many years, the unknown depths had been her fantasy of escape. For so many years before, the darkness below had called to her, taunted her, offered her the only version of rest she could think of.
For so many years before, the floating in the water forever — with nothing to hold her back or pull her forward — and the dwelling in the middle of the deep — with nothing to snatch her out of her space — had been her only version of hope. For so many years before, the giving in to the water had been her greatest wish.
Now here she was, right at its edge. For the first time in her life she had the courage to make her years-long wish come true. For the first time, she would be able to say that she had made the choice to go down to the deep, not out of compulsion or ill health or ill spirit, but out of sheer decision. For the first time since so many years before, the water lay open before her, willing to be to her what she would make it. For the first time in her life, joining the water was a true possibility, wrought not from fear, but from will. For the first time, her death amongst the water was one quick plunge away.
She looked up across to the waves coming in like flowing silver. She looked up at the sun she knew would soon lose interest. She looked down that the slabs resting so firmly beneath the filth.
“I could join you there,” she said to them. “For so long I wished that some day I would.”
But for all the momentum and weight and longing of years before, she was now at the water’s edge and it was exactly where she wanted to be.
The deep of the water could keep its depth to itself. The dark cold could stay cold, without her, for as long as it would. She would always love the water — from its lightest surface to its darkest deep — and she would return to it still. But for now, her freedom and her rest would come here, alive, at its edge.
Song: “Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness,”
by The Smashing Pumpkins