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Cannot Stop

Published 2002-11-13

The travel guide didn’t mention the current. It said something about seasonally strong swells, that was all. But if you had known about the current, you wouldn’t have picked this place for snorkeling. It was your first time snorkeling. You are not a strong swimmer, you are a little afraid of the water. When you entered, you were taken immediately with the fish, the bright and colorful fish. And you delighted at the speed you could move, in the water, almost with no effort. After three quarters of an hour, you noticed how far you were from the beach, visible only as a thin white line below the palms, visible between swells. That’s when you turned around, into the current.

The effortless gliding sensation that propelled you from the beach has been turned upon itself. You kick and kick, legs burning, lungs burning, breath sucked in salty wet gasps through the snorkel, kicking and kicking, and still you seem barely to move. The reef is 50 feet below you. You find yourself turned perversely against the swell. Every inch a struggle. You cannot stop kicking, cannot stop struggling. To rest is to surrender, to cease even for a heartbeat may mean being overwhelmed. You cannot feel the shore moving towards you. You kick and kick and kick and kick and kick and kick and kick.

You cannnot stop.

You cannot.