Sunday, May 18, 2014

Swimming in the Pacific

The beach we were going to was not far outside the little main “downtown” area of Haiku. The day was wet with clouds, but the beach, and the Pacific were still resplendent. The Artist and I had been in our suits most of the day, and so, after claiming a spot by an old abandoned house (“It was built too close to the ocean and flooded often, but it was something back in the day,” informed Code) we ran off to the beach, leaving Darque and Code to enjoy the canopy and the weather themselves.

The Pacific roared in front of us, up and down, grey murky water and big breaking waves. A few people were body boarding and surfing. The Artist ventured in and it was at the moment I put my toes in the water that I realized I was actually scared.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m terrified.”

“What?”

“I don’t think I’ve ever been in the Pacific.”

“You can swim, can’t you?”

“Yes, it’s just, I don’t know.”

“You know what to do in case of riptide?”

“Yes, we have that on Lake Michigan. I don’t know why I’m so terrified. It’s exciting though.”

“Be careful coming in; the shoreline drops of abruptly.” She swam out and I watched her bob up and down in the waves, in a swimsuit that did all sorts of awesome things to her breasts. I took a breath and dove forward, plunging into the wave of water, the best way for me to do it. I always preferred being underwater to over it.

When I was younger I could be in the water for hours. I have a ridiculous ability to hold my breath underwater. After being underwater long enough I could swear that I was breathing underwater, but maybe it’s just that I could stay down for close to two minutes without a problem. Granted, this was when I was younger and before my asthma became an enormous problem. Still, I preferred to be a fish: fully immersed rather than floating. I dove into the wave, leaned out my body and swam toward the Artist, popping up not far away.

The big wave caught me and tossed me up and down, causing me to panic and splash the waves for no good reason.

“Are you okay?’

“Yes, still a little terrified but okay.” Thee terror was not necessarily bad. The fear was a combination of arousal and nervousness that eventually gave way to satisfaction as I moved past it and overcame it. I will not fear…

“Stop splashing so much; just kick gently with your feet,” she instructed, as I righted myself in the warm waters.

“Why?”

“Do you really want to know?”

“Yes.”

“Sharks are attracted to the splashing.” I almost immediately started splashing again.

“Okay, I wish you hadn’t told me that.”

“You asked.” She smiled and we bobbed up and down in the water for a while. Enjoyed the warmth of it, enjoying the novelty. Enjoying my terror giving way to calm. Watching gatherings happening on the shores. Eventually the rain broke through the clouds and so we swam in on the waves and worked our way back to Code and Darque, who were enjoying their time on our little covered patio.

“Oh, I hate this swimsuit,” exclaimed the Artist, trying desperately to get rocks out of the bust cups that were apparently designed to catch all rocks on the shore.

“Technically it is legal to be topless on the beaches in Hawaii.” And with that we both took turns pulling the tops off our suits and shaking out the debris inside. The rain was coming down slightly more earnestly now. We discussed dinner plans and decided to place an order in town for some takeout sushi. We gathered up our things to make our way back home.

“We should go see that drum circle.”

The circle had been forming for a bit and we had watched several hippies (at least one of them Feral) carrying drums over for the circle. We put back on our sandals and moved across the beach toward the gathering. It was a small circle; a few of the elder hippies passed a joint back and forth as they started beating on the drums. A woman stood in the center of the circle and started dancing. Off to the side two younger girls were taking turns moving a hula hoop around their waists, necks and hands. The rain was soft in the trees as we watched; there was powerful magick here. The entire island vibrated with it. I could see how people go to Hawaii and never leave.

We stood watching, the Artist and I, hands clasped together, swaying with the music, happy just to be near each other, to touch for that moment and for all the moments we would miss before seeing each other again.

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