My hold is slipping.
Slumber robs me of my remaining strength and I let go of my life raft and slide into the bracken sea. I do not struggle.
Unconcerned, I watch it slowly disappear from view.
My body is heavy. I am sinking.
The sea is black as the night sky and the further I fall, the more disoriented I become. Soon the only indication of above and below is the fine plume that glistens like pearls, lifting to the surface in my wake. That and my hair, how it trails my descent, fighting in futility to rise again against my will.
The water should be deathly cold, but I feel nothing other than the weight of my despair dragging me down, down, down.
As I plummet deeper and deeper, I pull in my appendages, returning to a fetal position. This watery tomb embraces me as the womb. I shall leave the world as I came into it.
Suddenly, a glow from below illuminates my journey into the abyss. Someone is swimming up to meet me; one ghostly white hand seizing my own.
Micke. My beautiful Micke, eyes the color of glacial ice, his blonde hair tossed on an undercurrent, its tendrils aglow and enchanted like the luminescent strands of some jellyfish. I uncoil, and as I take his hand in mine, my heart is healed.
I smile and a burst of bubbles slipped free from my parted lips punctuates the murky depths, my final breath become a cloud of bright globes that float up and away from me.
The yearning, the ever-present longing of two gut-wrenchingly lonely years dissipates with the air that leaves my lungs.
His eyes filled with a melancholic melange of rapture and regret, Micke tugs me firmly toward him. When our lips meet, a wave of relief washes over me. I wish for nothing more than to drown in his arms, smothered with a kiss.
But Micke has something else in mind, for he gives me the kiss of life. He fills my lungs with the last of his breath, so that I might live.
And then he releases me.
I panic, searching for his hand and silently begging him to take me with him as he sharply pulls away, shaking his head no. Now is not the right time.
The harder I resist, the faster I rise, floating forever away from his loving arms. His expression is peaceful as he grows more and more distant, watching me drift farther and farther from his grasp.
As I ascend, there’s the unmistakable sound of another body plunging into the water above, accompanied by a fresh plume of bubbles and light that momentarily blinds me.
I hear the muffled sounds of a man shouting, the distorted shriek of approaching sirens.
Two hands desperately grapple in the water until they grab hold of me, gripping me by the shoulders and wrenching me forcefully to the surface.
I gasp for air, all the oxygen I can take in, glorious oxygen, while simultaneously coughing up the waterlogged contents of my lungs.
Kaare has me now by the collar of my jacket. He sets the course, tugging me to the quay.
As I am dragged to safety, I look up and I see my former self standing on the embankment, screaming and tearing at the roots of his hair. He’s devastated. He’s terrified. He thinks his world is ending.
I want to tell him that every end precedes a start, that he will survive this, as impossible as that may seem. But I still can’t quite breathe properly, I’m far too weak, and I’m unsure if I’ll come out of this worse for wear.
Whatever the damage, at least I’ll be alive.
I’m still alive.
I think I want to live.