Essay No. 7

Memories.  Sitting in the knee-deep Caribbean water that’s so blue-green, washing out the inside of my mask, where little dry sand grains have been stuck to the interior side of the glass since last time; the black rubber strap hot against my skin, after sitting in the sun all morning.  Rolling forward with a big breath, arms moving out wide, feet pushing off, gliding and sinking onto the sandy bottom.  Looking up at the silver surface, the other side of the ocean, familiar in a sense, but inverted, its little waves going down instead of up, trenches not crests that advance rhythmically.  Movement…constant, incremental movement.  It’s so bright, like a surface of mercury would be.  I looked at that for hours as a kid.  Was mesmerized.  Went into the water to look up, not down.  Imagined myself in an upside-down world, with the sea above me.

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I’m in the middle part of life now -- was a child, am a parent.  Still remain my parent’s child.  I can look both ways, find myself in the middle.  The ocean is two surfaces, bounds two worlds.  They touch; you see into one from the other, but with a bent sight, your plumb not quite right for that.  It has been so great to see my kids see the world, to relive the enormity and wonder of it.

My twelve-year old daughter is changing on me.  Some days she’s still my baby girl.  Oh, how I want to put my hand through the surface, go back, grab all that blue water and circle it up into my arms, and embrace it, immovable, forever.  Fall forward and be immersed in it again.  But it can’t be held that way.  Who created whom?  Who swims in the other one’s belly?