She tells you she may kill herself.
You are not supposed to gulp.
It has been a six year battle. She has been getting better, but it does not matter if she cannot see it.
She comes to struggle. You come to witness. You keep your hands to yourself. Since you are not supposed to gulp, you listen to the silence that grows like a river between the two of you.
You send words to the other side. You watch them drown.
The last time she tried, she nearly did.
There are some days when your own voice does not make sense to you. Days where words are sieves for everything they attempt to hold.
You take yourself to water. You leave work an hour early. The pool is blue, empty and perfect.
And then, wintry.
You are unprepared for January in an October swimming pool. You freeze. Pain is moving. Pain is not moving. Eventually, pain is in freezing. So you move.
Teeth chatter. Goosebumps erupt.
It is 5.30pm on a Thursday, and you are cold to the bone in a blue swimming pool that is streaked with sun.
The water is not a warm lullaby. The water is not a summer dream. The water is work. You love the color blue, even though you know it is dangerous. Everybody told you water would give you nightmares, but you knew there was nothing else you wanted to touch, for now. You chose the water. And now, here you are. Every single bone in your body hurting, cold and irreversibly alive. You grit your teeth. You swim to the other side.
Inhale, exhale, blur.
The cold does not grow on you. It never will. It becomes less cold, but not warmer. Your head is full of trickster metaphors about choice, madness, pushing through, freezing to death.
Is there a point to pleading for a life that does not belong to you?
Is there a point to shivering in a swimming pool with sore muscles, on a thursday afternoon?
Is there a point to thinking so much?
You focus on the water, not the pinpricks of cold. You move, because to not move means to shiver. The goosebumps sit tight on your skin. You realize they do not stop you.
The water was not blue, waiting with an epiphany. The water did not dissolve everything you needed it to.
Perhaps, you were a prayer.
Perhaps, the water was listening.
Carrying the leftover words inside you, you leave.
When you go home, you will feel a new hunger kicking in your belly.
And when your head lies on the pillow, you will sleep this night without being restless.
Maybe this is the closest you get to grace, today.
You hope everyone does.