When The Water Fades to Black

By Tyler MacDonald

What point is there to breathe when you will die anyway? What point is there to struggle when you have already lost the battle?

You think these things as your body descends deeper into the black ocean. You have been falling slowly, for about half a minute. The wet rag which was so recently your shirt has been turned into a parachute against the upward pressure of the water. You are not shuddering despite the fact that you are immersed in water of a menacing degree of coldness.

Your eyes! How do they function at all? All that you see is the darkening chasm which envelopes you. 

You might as well not have ears. They seemed to have ruptured. Now, you are left alone with the roar of silence. Your mouth is lazily agape, making only gagging motions. Your nose doesn’t even attempt to breathe. It burns. 

Your limbs are far too weak to save you. They stiffen. 

Your mind gives up one mission and takes up another. It says to itself, “Any final thoughts?” 

You answer this inquiry amid the complete takeover of pain. 

“I wish that some face could be watching over me right now,” you whimper to yourself, “I wish for someone I love to be crying over me as I descend to my death. That’s all I ask: the mixing of their pure tears with the murky waves.”

You think about when you flew away from home. You had a notion of newfound freedom when the plane had taken off, then you hit land in a new place which you figured was a perfect opposite to your past life. The old life which felt too familiar. You think about how backwards your life has been since that plane took off. 

When was the last time that you called your parents? How long has it been since you have felt… at home? Comfortable? You ask yourself these things as your lungs begin to collapse.

But now there is a bliss, floating somewhere nearby. Everything has slowed down now, and it’s very peaceful. If only you could invite this feeling to come further. Yet, your lungs continue to cave in. The feeling must stay at a distance, no matter how much you grasp for it. Only pain stays fast to your side. But even that feeling is diminishing. Seconds or perhaps minutes pass by like this: internal screaming beyond all witnesses except for yourself. 

Fish swim above, in the same water. They have hardly a care in the world between each other. Of course, they’re so terribly far above you, in a place where the light actually does reach down. Perhaps all fish live in constant Nirvana. Perhaps a whale is the most enlightened creature ever to exist. And you. You are nothing but a drowning speck. 

You were just going entirely numb when your foot senses a strange thing. Is, is that the ocean floor caressing your toes? Is this rock bottom? You do feel something solid beneath your feet. It feels very, very soft. Like an angel’s face that you cry upon until the sorrow finally dissipates. But this is not heaven. Something in your lungs seems to have popped. 

At that moment, as you try and fail to grasp the sand with your toes, you think about how you had enough money for a plane ticket. Your father would be 57 years old right now; your mother 54. 

Everything fades to static.