Ice: A Short Story.

Closer, just one step closer. Must. See. It. Children are the ones who don’t know when to stop, I’ll be fine. I won’t fall. Lungs like a vacuum, breath stops. Ice burns into every inch of me. My mind just as frozen as the water that I’m now submerged in, and I grab at the camera body that is driving itself into the dip below my hip bone, wanting to save what I know is already ruined. I rise, the splash as surreal and silent to everyone else as it was to myself. Does cold water freeze vocal chords instantaneously? Inexplicably calm. In less than two seconds I’ve accepted defeat. I deserve this. Maybe it is a spirit of acceptance that silences us, not the cold. Fascinated with my inability to speak out and scream for help, the silent voice in my mind asked a thousand questions a second. Sometimes, I wonder if that’s just what emotion is. Questions, statements, exclamations; all at once, too fast to understand and just fast enough to feel. I watch those I was with move in slow motion on the snow covered ice, realizing I’ve dragged their filming equipment down with me. How many thouands of dollars did I just destroy? I laugh at them, to myself, that they would have entrusted me with their most valuable possessions; things I can barely even make use of. Fools. My mind begins to darken and I know that I will sink because I’ll freeze, and that I’ll freeze because I refuse to scream; not because I can’t swim.

40 minutes passes before they’ve found a woman who can find me at the bottom of the lake and save me. Ten times longer than one can survive without breathing. I am dead. They know this. I know this. Utterly lifeless, and unsure of my consciousness stemming from a heart still beating or from a perspective outside of myself. Something snaps and for a brief second I see a connection between soul and whatever this is that I am experiencing. She touches me, and the water is completely clear. I see everything. The world. Everything. I follow her underwater, with every intent of surfacing through the same skylight in the ice that she does. I watch it seal itself in a way that physics don’t allow as soon as she slips through, and my entire body knows that no, her way out is not mine. I flip, easily, now breathing in the water like it is my oxygen. Second nature. Like a seal trapped beneath the ice, metal doors appear in every direction and begin sliding shut, from ice to floor, boxing me in. I race to escape. I could call for this woman again, I know this. But I find myself accepting defeat again. So easily. Condemnation and self-hatred is absent; this is merely a passive agreement of apathy. The last door slams shut against the base of the lake, echoing to my core. Panic and peace woven together in a way we don’t experience above water. She appears yet again, to save me. Who is this woman? She slides a ring I cannot see on my finger, and slips invisible jewelry on my neck. I breathe. Again. Peace. Again. She lifts a door effortlessly and pulls me to the top. She does not speak to me in my native tongue, she speaks to me in Grace. And somehow, I understand this language. She offers to go back under, suffering pain upon pain to retrieve my camera. Even though we both know the water has made it useless. She understands my grief. Placing a worthless camera back into my hand moments later, Grace takes another form: action. And gives me not what I need but what I want. And stays by my side.


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  1. Sweta says:

    intense and nicely woven.Liked it.

  2. Cara says:

    absolutely unbelievable. you totally picked up my emotions and thoughts at the beginning and carried them all the way to the end, to the very surprising finish. wow. WOW. what a glorious story. thank you.

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