Christina C. Franklin | Darcy Rozen
Bubbles, just bubbles. That’s all I see as I descend into the cold depth of the Atlantic, motionless and unable to move. My hearing is muted, and I can no longer breathe. I am losing consciousness, but haven’t forgotten. Haven’t forgotten how I arrived in this forecastable predicament, or how I could have avoided it altogether.
My hope is swiftly fading with the once bright light the deeper I continue my descent. With limbs bound, I am helpless and sinking fast. On the inside my heart is crying out, but no one is around to hear, and I hear nothing but a faint rumble as I close my tired eyes. Is it the sound of the approaching ocean floor, or a rescuer coming to my defense?
Light, just light. That’s all I see now. Have I crossed over? I cannot tell if I am still alive or if death has finally claimed me, yet I feel as if I am being pulled, the twisted rope in a game of tug of war. My body has already surrendered and my will has paled with my botched attempt at living life. Maybe the angels are dragging me toward heaven. But do I deserve heaven? Have I lived my life with the servitude required to gain access to the pearly gates?
Now I am shaking, or being shaken. I don’t know which it is. My thoughts are disjointed as a million questions dart across my unclear mind. And I hear noises, blurry noises, muted and incoherent. Am I dreaming? Is someone calling my name? My eyes struggle to open. I’m gasping to breathe. And as if I was just born into this world, I take a fulsome breath and realize that…I am alive.
I’m alive! I’ve been rescued! Feeling the rigid hard surface under my back, I am certain now that I do hear my name being called in the muted background as an excitement builds in my chest. I feel the cold air whipping across my skin like a hundred tiny razors and experience joy at the uncomfortable stinging sensation. My senses are still fuzzy, unsure of what I am actually hearing, smelling, feeling, yet I fight to focus on my savior and force my numb facial muscles to form a smile.
“Thank you,” I manage to squeak. My voice doesn’t sound like my own. My eyes are too heavy to open, but I am delirious with hope, a recently forgotten feeling. Waves of pungent scents from the fishy ocean tickle my nose and make me want to laugh at the deliciously repulsive smell. Yes, I am alive.
“Did you like that, Cassie?” He touches my cheek and brushes aside a lock of my auburn hair. It feels comforting, good…or wait, maybe not. I try to shake the lint out of my unclear thoughts.
Who was that? And what did he just say? Did I like that? I desperately try to tune my hearing to the faintly familiar voice.
“If you enjoyed that game Cassie dear, we can play another.”
My body suddenly stiffens. Oh my God, no!
I am falling, and falling fast. Not literally, but figuratively as my momentary introduction to joy has swung to the dark end of the pendulum paralyzing me now with unmistakable fear. Deep in my soul my faith cracks and breaks into thousands of pieces like tiny shards of jagged glass. Tears involuntarily rush to the surface seeking out their liberated release. They pour down my face, a dam that can no longer hold. It is him.
Now fully present and aching in a marinade of deep fright and sorrow, I pray for forgiveness for my weakness and ill thoughts as I regretfully wish I was back in the Atlantic plummeting towards death and numb once again.