LADEELEROY

2002-05-08

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12% BEER
DIARYLAND
 
Deep Thoughts From The Deep End (aka IC#7)
 
  When I was a kid, I thought I was a mermaid. This explains the reason why I once watched the movie Splash! about 12 times in one weekend and got a body wave in the 5th grade.

Part of being a mermaid, aside from having a fish tail, long, luxurious blonde wavy hair that covers two beautiful and buoyant breasts, was the ability to holds one's breath for an incredible amount of time.

I practiced this attribute as if it were my newfound religion. Public pools and the family bathtubs were my sanctuaries. Bathing suits and goggles, my purdah. After an appropriate amount of time was spent with the usual practices that took place in pools and tubs, I would dedicate a significant amount of time to not breathing.

Recall the times when you were a child, sitting at the bottom of a pool's deep end, looking up to the water's surface. Pool patrons freckled the waterline. Legs swirling. Fabrics on loose swim trunks and fancy skirt suits would move with the mini-currents created with each kick and stroke. When you're sitting on the bottom of a pool looking up, you know why sharks think humans are a tasty treat.

But during my moments of breathless prayer, I wouldn't acknowledge the world above me. Instead, I would sink to the bottom, landing on the textured, rocky floor. Usually the fabric on my suit and the texture on the floor would create a Velcro-like relationship and I would be anchored.

And I would remain still; giving over the control of my body to the water that encased me. The weight of my gangly limbs became unnoticed as each floated, relaxed around me. My hair would create a whispy aura around my goggled-face. Small bubbles would escape from my nostrils... the last to leave my earthly vessel.

Silence.

Complete and total silence.

Nothing exists when you are underwater. The world above, the limbs around you, the thoughts in your head vanish and you are left with silence.



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Slowly my silence would have an intruder. The sound of my heart. Quietly it thumped in my ears and I could hear the blood in my head pulsate through my veins, valiantly battling to reach my brain.

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Slowly I would awaken from my brief meditation and become aware of the burning sensation in my lungs. It is the most pleasant aching feeling I can remember from my childhood. It is the first sensation during breathless prayer that reminds you that not only are you encased in water, but you are encased in flesh and muscle as well. Flesh and muscles have demands. Breathing, for instance.

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But I would wait. I would wait until the pressure was too unbearable. I would wait until the thoughts that had momentarily vanished from my brain returned and included scenarios of life-guards jumping into the deep end, my lifeless body lying limp on the pool's edge, my Mom crying as bystanders tried to comfort her.
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.And with every little bit of air that was left in my system, I would push my frame from the pool's floor, rocket my burning, breathless body to the surface.

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There is always that moment, right before reaching the air above that my mind would briefly acknowledge the moment of nirvana that was achieved below and as this thought culminated, my mouth would open, gulping in air, filling my lungs to capacity, again and again until the small dancing lights that only my eyes could see would flicker out.

The silence that once inhabited my innards would leak out as the water left my ear canals. Sounds of summer would now surround me. Smells of chlorine and mowed grass would make themselves at home in my nostrils.

I wait. I breathe. I feel my body become replenished with the resources it requires. Sunlight. Air. Mortality.

Then I would vacuum in as much air as I could pack into my 11-year-old lungs and swim to the bottom of the pool again for another sample of silence, peace, nirvana.



Even today I find myself at times grasping and sucking in as much air as I can and I send myself to the deep end for those moments of needed nonexistence. Sometimes I'll do this while I'm in water; sometimes while not. I do it in times of needed sanctuary.

 
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Copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 L.Leroy