Surface Intervals (i)

(i)

Overenthusiastic PADI certified instructor keeps trying to drum this into our heads: “You’re in a different world under water; everything floats and it’s just like you’re in space.” My friend W rolls his eyes, “You all never swim before, is it.”

He is right. We enter the water weighed down with the tanks and the BCD and our fins and the water that has already seeped into our wetsuits and will continue finding its way towards our skin (but will never – that is rather the point) between the weave of fabrics. W bubbles in glee. Our group fins its way up and down, pulling the deep end closer to us and then pushing it away (such is anthropocentrism: air pressure is measured in how many times more or less we feel it, and body-water is measured by how far it is from where we are allowed to breathe).

My favourite part of the water is its meniscus. We plunge and there is the moment where the cold of the water slaps against your belly and your ears fill up with the viscous sounds of the ocean. (Meniscus, as if the world were a bowl and we were all just poured in – mud, flesh, and fluid all). The life jacket holds up and I just lean back in the water, a calibrated recline to let the water climb up the edges of the eyepiece (meniscus: as if it were connective tissue that doesn’t connect but keeps apart). I forget to breathe, and a gull flies by.