I would never have predicted this. I was hovering in mid-water: fifteen metres or so deep – on my own. I’ve never been in this situation before. Not even close. Every time I’ve ever scuba-dived, I’ve been ear to ear with someone else. That someone else being my husband.
The truth was; it was nice being alone now. As I floated in the blue warm water, everything quiet except for the sound of my air bubbles, I thought. When had diving stopped working for me? For sure, I’d put pressure on it ‘having’ to work. Perhaps because diving was part of our plan. The plan to come to the Caribbean and resume the life we had. The life before children, beautiful but dependant children. The life before we gave up adventure and took a mortgage.
The problem wasn’t that we had become hard-working, stay-at-home people. I loved that part. The problem was that we had tasted our life before – and we couldn’t forget the taste. It was like a map had been drawn.
I hovered over the sea bed. Small, striped sergeant majors shimmied past my fins. Being scared of diving was never supposed to be part of the plan. I winced. Neither was having a disabled child. No matter how proud I am of Delph and I’m proud to my dendrites of her, I’m not going to beat around the bush either. Not everything goes according to plan. And if having and adoring a disabled child wasn’t part of our plan, who’s to say diving wasn’t super dangerous as well? Who’s to say that anything won’t happen?
We’d moved back to the northern anchorage, Port St Charles on Friday. Wild Thing III moved up here too – and Krista said she’d hang out with Delph. This enabled Lu, Jack and I to suit up and head for the nearby wreck, the Pamir. Pamir as in the cookie. This 165-foot ship had been sunk deliberately for a dive site in 1985.
Except that I couldn’t go down. The ship stared up at me like giant metal teeth. As Lu and Jack calmly descended, my heart began to race. My throat went suddenly dry. That’s fine, except a toasted throat makes me feel I can’t breathe. And breathing and diving go annoyingly together.
I signalled for my concerned-looking crew to go without me. Jack knew this might happen. He pointed duly up to the dinghy. This meant go back to Edna and wait. Although this was the logical idea, I felt a sudden, stubborn pang. I didn’t want to. I decided I would stay where I was instead. Try and calm down.
They went down another 10m into the wreck, I watched them disappear and stared out into the blue. A stanza from Louis MacNeice’s poem, Meeting Point floated into my head. I did it for English A level.
And they were neither up nor down;
The stream’s music did not stop flowing through heather, limpid brown,
Although they sat in a coffee shop
And they were neither up nor down.
I was neither up, nor down too, I thought. Belonged neither to land, nor water. With this, I worked to slow my heart down. Swallowed against my dry throat.
I used to love diving. The weightless feeling of flying through water. The access to underwater critters. I so badly want to go back to that love. To that life.