I can feel the soles of my shoes soaking water in, as the salty liquid sloshes over my feet. I take cautious steps forward, feeling the freezing waves creeping up my calf, to my knee, and over my thigh. The material of my trousers turns darker and heavier with every step that I take, the water forcing me backward.
I push forward.
As the icy water reaches my stomach I can feel my muscles contract in resistance. My limbs are screaming for me to return to warmth and comfort, desperate for a rest. But my mind is sharp, focussed. I continue out into the waves, as the almost black liquid washes up to my chest, and starts to lap at my throat.
The night is clear and the moon is reflected against the waves in front of me, illuminating a path of light ahead. I can feel that my breathing has quickened and shallowed, so I take a moment to compose my lungs. I close my eyes and take some deep breaths, calming my core and momentarily pausing the shivering in my fingers.
Once my composure is regained, I continue. The water is now over my chin, so I purse my lips tightly to stop the salt from reaching my tongue. As the waves move around me the water begins to move up my nose, and over my cheeks.
Still I walk on.
I can no longer breathe as the water completely covers my nostrils, and then proceeds to move over my eyes and forehead. My eyes remain open and feel the salt sting as it washes behind my eyelids. They instinctively clamp shut, trying to wash the intrusion away, but I force them apart, allowing the moon to guide me.
My feet begin to stick to the seabed, weighed down by the wet sand beneath me. I can feel my shoes pull apart from my feet as I step. Sand floods the gap and I can feel the wet mounds pressing against the soles of my feet. As the water covers my hair and the top of my head, I disappear completely from view.
The pressure of the water around me feels like a vice around my skull. The sound of crashing waves has been replaced by a ringing sound, as my ears give in to the crushing of the sea. I continue to labour forward. With every step the light provided by the moon dampens and darkens and the blackness of the water engulfs me. Eventually, I see nothing.
Wet hair pierces the surface of the water, and ripples rush out around me. My eyes slowly open, and oxygen rushes into my system. I can feel my heart rate return to a normal rate, and the blood rush around my system. It is only when I exit the water entirely that I feel how cold I have been. My fingers are black with ice. I brush my hand against my face and it feels like a stranger is touching me. The sensations in my extremities have completely deserted me.
It takes some time for me to take stock of my surroundings. I have no idea how long I’ve been submerged, but my system is completely shocked. When I eventually regain my bearings I am greeted with an unexpected scene.
I am stood at the edge of the earth. My hair is brushing against the stars. I can reach out and touch the moon. The universe is whistling around me, eternity ahead of me, and behind me. Distance is nothing and everything and I am suddenly caught up in an overwhelming rush of insignificance and loneliness.
I crossed the water to reduce the space, and now planets separate us.