Monday, October 15, 2012

Weightless


I stand facing the blue horizon. On every side, the driftwood tourists lie prone on their towels. I peel down the layers to my bikini, leaving an untidy ball of clothing when I stride over and slip into a wave.

The Oludeniz water is salty and mineral; so much moreso than the ocean water I grew up in. It tastes like blood in the mouth, as though I'm brushing my lips against an open vein with every breath.

The water here stings everything that needs healing. A cut on my hand; eyes, red and tired from recycled airplane air and incessant screenlight; my scuffed right heel -- all singing with a peculiar, tingling pain. So, too, my heart.

I take several languid strokes, landing myself far enough from the thin crowd on the beach that my earplugs silence the roughhousing, bickering and shrieking that clings to the shoreline. It unnerves me to be out this far, but I'm eager to be alone today.

Between the clarity of the water and the uniformity of the grey rocks below, it feels as though I'm floating over the surface of the moon.

I try to lose myself in the rythm of hands and feet. When that fails I submerge, arms and legs akimbo, hair impossibly soft in its suspended animation. I listen to the morse-code clicking of the rocks far below me as they move with the shifting of the currents. I startle at the rocketship movements of the creatures that live here. They are entirely unperturbed by my awkwardness -- a grave-faced porcelain doll, misplaced.

I have never minded solitude. Indeed, it's my happy default. Solitude is the most defensible position; the most reliable refuge; the space where you kneel quietly and wait for inspiration to come shyly out from under the couch and nuzzle your hand.

These days, however, I'm thinking of solitude's other faces. I'm thinking about the moment just after my feet have left the cliff, when the buoyancy of the leap has just started to convert to downward speed. I'm thinking of a night spent crumpled on the floor in my own living room next to a phone full of thousands of uncallable numbers, emptying a bottle of whiskey into a solitude that had turned abruptly to despair. I'm thinking about the solitude that lives in the secrets you're keeping even from yourself; of the solitude inherent in opening a door to your deep inner rooms and waiting for someone to walk in.

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