A week later I once again loaded up my boat. I started the motor and rode the waves out of the bay. When I reached the spot I put on my tanks and face mask and flippers and was about to throw myself overboard when…I stopped. I looked at the cool green water, and felt the spray of the waves on my face, and tried again. I couldn’t. I looked at the water, dismayed, as a growing sense of fear and dread overtook me. Sadly, I took off my tanks. I took off my mask. I took off my flippers. I started the motor and headed back to the shore.
Back at my little beach cottage I moped and paced, trying to shake off this fear. Nothing helped. I forgot to eat. I tossed and turned all night. In the morning I woke with huge dark half-moons under my eyes. As I splashed my face with cold water, I thought over the situation. I couldn’t stay afraid of water for the rest of my life! I decided I’d try once more.
I walked down to a deserted part of the beach. I waded in up to my ankles. Then up to my knees. Then up to my waist. The water came up to my chest, and stopped rising. I couldn’t force myself to go in farther. A cold ball of fear settled in my stomach. I wanted to scream, to shout at the unfairness of it all, but instead I quietly turned around and went back home. I knew I would go back to my job as a curator after all.
That evening I moodily walked along the water line, scuffing my toes in the sand. Then, as though through a fog, a voice reached me. (more…)