I kicked my flippers. They moved as if in slow-motion. My brain couldn’t communicate to them the urgency of the situation.
As I sank deeper, pressure pressed painfully on my chest and my vision blurred. I felt as though I was choking. Like a climber with hypothermia on Mount Everest, instead of feeling cold, I felt burning hot. What little was left of my rational mind prevented me from tearing off my gear.
Around me floated an immense forest of seaweed, which only added to my confusion. As I swam on, the strands of green seaweed grew darker, nearly black, and thinner, almost like hair. They knotted around my legs and wrapped around my arms, pulling at me, drawing me within. I was a marionette caught in its strings.
As I drew my arm back to loosen their grip, something turned and flashed white before me —
— a face?
The familiar features stared back at me through the seaweed: the upturned slope of her nose, the lines of her cheeks curved and cold like carved marble. Vivid, searing eyes which haunt my dreams. My hands were wrapped in her dark hair and despite the deathly cold of the ocean’s waters, her hair felt warm and alive.
Who had died the previous year.
Her face was alight, brightening the waters like a beacon. Her dark eyes widened, ablaze with happiness. She was just as I had remembered her. Despite my pounding heart, I descended into a deep calm. Her face exuded such caring and happiness that my panic receded, the physical desperation of my body melting into her hypnotic smile. Suddenly I was buoyed by the breathlessness of joy as her vision overcame the pain of oxygen deprivation.
She opened her mouth, breathing a song into the frigid waters. A heart-breaking tune, soft wispy and ephemeral, so vague as to defy description. A song whose lyrics I struggle to remember, but whose melody I delight in recalling, with its intricate and fleeting patterns, delicate and as beautiful as frost patterns on a window pane. A voice so clear I could only have heard it in my mind.
And it wasn’t just any song. It was our song. A song of our past lives together, our shared memories, and the promise of our future together.