I: The Diver
Demmi could see the undulation of the surface but was unable to gauge
its distance. Out of air, he kicked hard and pulled strenuously with
both arms. His chest burned and his body commanded him to breathe.
Thoughts of his daughter were interjected between jolts of panic.
He knew he could not make it. The distance was too far this time, and
age had claimed its due. Pride would be the killer today. Only his
haughtiness encouraged him to make dives lately. Everyone told him how
strong he looked; that he had a beautiful body. He tried to be humble,
but he was prideful.
At the moment Demmi took a breath, he exploded through the surface of
the water. He gasped loudly and was unable to gain sufficient oxygen.
Light-headed, he turned on his back and floated for a few seconds. He
saw his white dinghy just a few feet away. He turned over and breast
stroked to it. Still weak, he reached up and grasped the top of the
heart-shaped stern. He looked around the bay, and was pleased with the
colors of the water of the Caribbean.
At the mouth of the inlet, the water was midnight blue. The white sail
of a passing boat was beautiful in contrast. The hue of the water
changed as it neared the shore, evolving into various shades of
turquoise. And the tropical wind fingered a wave top here and
He looked at the contrast between his black skin and the white paint of
the dingy and smiled. The muscles of his forearm were twining black
ropes, and he took pride in it. He took another deep breath and pulled
himself into the boat. Seating himself in the middle, he picked up the
bleached oars. After a few strokes, Demmi heard the shush of waves
hitting shore. He shipped the oars and braced himself as the boat
plowed into the white sand.
Demmi was in love with this place. He closed his eyes and raised his
head, allowing the sun to cup his face with warm hands. The opus of
waves upon sand was his music, and his mind danced. Slowly. And he
realized how intimate his relationship was with the shallows of the
bay. Each dive being a return to the womb.
Demmi stepped out of the dingy and pulled it completely out of the
water. The walk would be different today. Joy from a life in the water,
sadness from its conclusion. He put the oars over his shoulder and took
the first step home.