the time i almost drowned

The feeling of drowning.

Of going down, down, and reaching the seafloor in surprise, only to look up and realize how far you are from the shimmering surface.

To think, “oh, I’ve gone too deep. What have I done? I certainly will not make it this time.”

Your world is water.

You kick and kick with desperation as your chest strains once, twice, three times. Your entire torso has become a pumping, wanting heart.

You will drown. You will not make it.


The winter closes in.

You have not seen the sun in weeks, months.

Your skin crumbles and cries for moisture and warmth.

You cannot remember the last time you felt joy, the last time you left your bed for anything but work.

You think, “this is it, the last winter. I’ve gone much, much too deep. I certainly will not make it this time.”

Your world is despair and indifference.

You read, you write, you hate it all. You surround yourself with creative pursuits, friends, family, love, and you feel nothing. Empty.

You will drown. You will not make it.


And when you have held your breath for longer than you knew you could, you hold it for a moment more.


You break the surface and gasp.

What was silence is now chaos of color and sound. And the sun, oh! The sun.

You’re taken under again after barely a sip of air, shoved down. Silence again.

You resurface.

All you feel is the sun on your face.


Suddenly, you are being held. By the water, the despair, the panic.

Now it holds you, lifts you.

The water laps at the edges of your eyes. It rolls down your face, your neck, into your hair. It is everywhere, and it holds you.

You thank both the heavens and the depths that it now holds you.

And the sun.


The joy, relief, spills out of you.

You suddenly want to smile

and you do.

You suddenly want to laugh,

and you do.




(Previously published by Harness Magazine at

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