Original Piece

The Drift

I can just manage to keep my head above water.

If I thrash in terror it won’t help; I’ll go under for sure.
But to do nothing, I’m as good as dead.

I try to turn my arms so they glide through the current, cutting a line back and forth.
The energy I’m expending just to keep afloat feels like an enormous burden.
How much longer?

It’s a mental game. Am I genuinely tired or is my mind just trying to convince me?
I bob upwards and my eyes find the shoreline.
At this point it looks more like a threat than an offer of salvation.
My mind wanders as I continue in full motion, going nowhere.

I reminisce on the feeling of solid ground under my feet, the wild air surrounding my body, no pressure pushing upon me endlessly.
In my mind’s eye - I throw my arms high above my head. They move freely up to the sky.
I look to the sky now.
The sky is growing. It grows wide and shallow. Its blackness feels infectious.
A reminder that I contend with the world above me and the one below.
Neither feel part of me.

The moon rises and the frigid sea air forces me to take swollen breaths.
Each inhalation catches in my throat. I turn to cough, the sea kisses my lips and salt saturates my senses.

Intent on submitting to the tide.
I place the palms of my hands over each eye.
I lean into the empty void below. It opens to accept me and I’m engulfed.
The movement is at once disorientating and empowering.
I surrender to the sea.

      - A. Sykes


'The Drift' is an original piece I submitted for a competition in 2015. I've made a few subtle changes since. 

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