There is only water.
Nothing but the cling and caress of its endless existence. Nothing but the pressure and the buoyancy.
But there’s light too. There is something that glows from somewhere up above, and my mother tells me that this is sun. I own that too. We women own the ocean, but we own the sky as well, and the open air.
“What is the sky?”
“A sea beyond reach. As blue as the ocean.”
Ocean = world. What else do I know?
“Well, what is the open air?”
“A thin sea. So light you can see right through it as if it wasn’t there. So soft you can swim through it as if it were nothing at all. But so thin that it can’t carry you, you can never float on it. Not unless you have wings.”
“Child, there are things you have never seen.”
And so I swim towards the light, through the changing colours of blue. I swim until I burst through the surface and the world does somersaults around me. All is bright, is warm, there are colours that I have never seen. There is a blue all above me that I know must be the sky, and in it there is a ball of light so powerful I can barely look at it. What my mother said of wings is true, for how else can these specks move up there, in this suffocating ocean?
“You can breathe it,” she tells me, “but it can never nourish you like the ocean. It’ll feel as if you can’t take big enough breaths.”
Just that. Each breath is too full of empty. But the surface of the ocean is a fantastic blue, a blue that sails off in all directions. It reaches out at the blue of the sky, and thin sheets of green and brown that represent this thing called ‘land’. We women own that too, though its denizens don’t know it. The ball of light in the sky casts shadows made of gold, that make paths against the sea. Even the sounds are strange, louder and jarring; I can feel them against my scales.
“Come down now,” she calls me.
I splash my tail in the water, and twist myself into a dive. The sea soothes me all over as I slide back into its depths.
The air will be waiting when I decide to return for it.
Picture credit/discredit: author's own work