The water is the dark it’s the colour that it is it’s dark colour.

The water has stopped. We have stopped we are not moving we are floating and my Mum is small black on white sand and I can’t see her waving she is small and black and the black it’s moving and I can’t see my sister my sister and my Mum are one black dot and the dot is moving to the jeep and the jeep is small and it’s brown and I can just see it on the white.

Dad is squeezing my hand and he is breathing fast into his chest and my brother is silent now, he is white, and he is shivering and my Dad is holding him close, ‘cos the water is colder out here. The water is like glass, and we are in glass and I saw that on TV, the way they melt the glass and turn it, and we are turning in the water like glass. My skin is stingy, but we have no sunscreen, just our snorkels and togs.

My Mum is a swimming teacher and she taught me to swim from when I was a baby. I would put my head under the water and kick and kick and see how far I could get while I was holding my breath. I would have goggles on and I would look beneath the swimming pool, and see what was underneath, bandaids in the pool. I don’t want to put my snorkel on and look ‘cos I saw the shark before on the reef and I know that in the deeper water there are bigger sharks than the one we saw on the reef, like that movie Jaws I saw at Scott’s place and I didn’t tell my Mum I saw it ‘cos she said I wasn’t allowed, but Scott and me snuck it at night and we watched it with the TV turned down in his room when his parents were asleep and I was sooo scared. I saw what happened to the man in the movie, his blood was in the water. I want to ask my Dad whether Jaws will come but if I ask him he will know I saw the movie even though my Mum and he will get mad so I don’t say.

I am watching the tips of the waves. They are dark tips ‘cos the water is dark colour.

‘OK son,’ my Dad says, and I look into his face, his face is right in front of my face, not up, ‘cos in the water everyone is the same tallness. ‘We need to swim around the current,’ he says, pointing to the side of the jeep where the sand stops.
‘To the peninshula?’ I ask.
‘…Yeah,’ he says, looking at me funny, like how did I know the word illusion.
‘OK.’
‘We need to swim but we need to swim…’ he’s thinking of a different way to say it, but I already know what he’s saying. ‘We need to swim softly, don’t splash.’
‘Why Daddy?’ asks Andy.
‘Cos-‘ I say, and stop. I look at my Dad and he knows.
‘I’m scared, Dad. I saw that m-’
‘We’ll be OK. Just don’t kick too much. Not like swimming lessons. Small kicks, don’t splash.’
‘OK.’
‘Let’s go.’ He is squeezing my hand.
We swim, breaststroke, and every stroke I make sure I move through the water like I am the glass, I imagine I am one of the fish I saw before. They were swimming all around the sharks and maybe ‘cos they swim smooth, they are safe. They are friends with the sharks, cos they swim smooth. My Mum says I am a fish, a little fish, a pie-sees, I see it like that, like a pie with eyes, but I know it is spelled P-I-S-C-E-S cos I got a gold star in my spelling book. I think this will make me safe, ‘cos the fish are friends with the sharks. My Dad is a fish too, but I am scared for my brother. He is a bull, and bulls don’t live in the water.

As we swim, I’m watching the tips of the waves.

We’re swimming, and the sand is sooo far, and I’ve never swam so far and I am scared ‘cos it’s not the fifty metres at the pool, it must be like a million metres, and I’m not even a metre and I’m swimming a million of me, and I don’t know if I can. But my Dad can. My Dad swims a lot, I’ve seen him swim a long way in the ocean and if we hold his hand he will bring us back. My Dad is swimming slow though. It’s gonna take ages to get back, and its cold. My little brother is white, and his lips are a little blue, and he is shivering, and my Dad is rubbing his chest with his hand sometimes when we stop swimming.
‘Andy?’
‘Dad!’
‘Shhh’ my Dad says, and he tells him to stop crying and he covers his mouth.
‘Stop. Stop!’
My brother is scared now, and he stops. My Dad is looking into his eyes, and my Dad’s eyes are wet, and he is telling him to stop, he is telling him. My brother stops. We keep swimming.

The salt is stingy and the sun is stingy and my lips feel dry, and the salt is stinging my eyes, and I rub them but it won’t stop, swimming. We are slowly going back, and the water is not moving so we are going.
‘Good, keep going,’ Dad says, ‘Good boys you’re strong. You’re good boys, we can do this. It’s gonna be OK.’ My Dad is lying. Scott is lying.

I’m watching the tips of the waves.

The water is so black I can’t see anything, it’s like we’re swimming in the sky at night, but its day time. The sky is so blue, but its white blue, and I look up.
‘It’s the eagle!’ I say.
‘Yeah, it’s him.’
The eagle is making a circle above us, he is floating in a circle.

We’ve been swimming so long, my legs are tired.
‘I can’t Dad, I can’t.’
‘Keep going, son.’
‘I can’t.’
My Dad stops, we are maybe half, it looks so far, and there is a current now that is pushing us to the peninshula. My Dad is swimming into the current, and the swimming is a little harder cos the water is moving against us, and it’s been sooo long it’s even harder. I can’t.
‘I can’t.’
Hold my hand with your hands, both of them. Hold my hand with your hands. I’ll swim, but don’t kick, OK, and like your lessons… head down, head left, breathe. Head down, head right, breathe. OK?’ He looks at me.
‘OK’ I say.
‘OK Andy?’ Andy is blue. Andy is looking sleepy.
‘Fuck.’ My Dad doesn’t swear. ‘Fuck.… Andy? Andy!’ My Dad is slapping his face. Andy is blue. His lips are blue. He is looking sleepy, his eyes aren’t looking properly, he isn’t looking at my Dad, he isn’t looking at anything.
My Dad said the word snorkel and I heard the word snore and I laughed ‘cos I saw him sleeping in the water.
‘Dad!’ One of the waves has a black tip, and it’s gone.
‘What?’
‘It’s gone!’
‘What’s gone?’
‘There!’ I say, pointing where it was.
‘What?’
‘The wave was black.’
My Dad eyes are big. He is looking all around us. He is looking hard, spinning around, then he sees the black wave, and he pulls us close. The wave is gone.
‘Don’t move,’ he says. My brother is sleeping, he is blue, his head is floppy on my Dad’s shoulder.
It’s like the movie.
‘Don’t kick.’ My Dad looks scared. My Dad looks scared and Scott is lying, people don’t come from monkeys. I am a fish.
Dad is spinning, and he is holding us really tight and I can’t breathe and I want the electric.
‘Dad!’ pointing my finger at it, and Dad turns, and the water in front is moving, and splashing, and the top of the water is moving and it’s something in the water. My Dad is breathing hard, and he is trying to stop breathing so hard, he is trying to be quiet but his eyes are screaming, I can’t breathe, he is squashing me. He isn’t breathing.

The electric would show me things. Like the light they gave me in my head. They had a thin metal pencil and they put it against my head and I saw things, like where we came from, and it wasn’t monkeys. It was them.

The water splashes again, and my Dad puts on his snorkel quick and he’s looking under the water, and I hold my brother who is blue and I keep his head above the water while Dad is looking.

It was them. They made us. They made us from them, and we are everywhere, we are in the stars at night, but they told me not to tell, they told me I was them too. But it’s a secret.

My Dad is above the water again, and he takes off his snorkel, and he is searching the water with his eyes, and now there is moving water everywhere, all around us, and there are things in the water and I can’t see what it is, but I see the black waves, there are many black waves! Look! It’s a circle around us.
My Dad is crying.
‘Dad! What is it?’
My Dad is crying and his body is loose, he is breathing again.
‘What is it?’
‘Fuck!’
‘What is it?’
He is laughing.
‘They’re just dolphins.’
The black waves move in a smooth line all around us, they move in and out in a circle. I am a fish and my Dad is a fish. My Dad is laughing and I am smiling.
‘Dolphins!’ my Dad is yelling.
My Dad keeps swimming and the dolphins are all around us, and they are moving in and out of the water all around us, and they keep close but I can’t touch them, they are too far away. My Dad seems strong now. My Mum! My brother is blue, he is sleeping now, and my Dad tells me ‘Steve, keep his head above the water, like this,’ and he lies Andy on his back his head to the sky as we swim. ‘Like this,’ and he feels his chest for breathing.

We swim more and I can see the colour of the water is really dark now. We are near the reef, we are at the ‘shelf’. I heard on the TV that the shelf is where all the big sharks hang out. I can see the jeep now, and it’s getting bigger, my Mum is next to the jeep and she is waving again. We are gonna see my Mum! Mum! I can see her on the shore, and she’s not that far, she is small but I can see her, and my sister is on the sand, crying, and I can see her.

When we get to the dark water my Dad swims hard, he is swimming really hard now and I think he’s hurt ‘cos he’s holding his ribs but he keeps swimming hard, and I am holding on tight, but then the water hits me, and I can’t hold my Dad’s hand.

‘Dad!’ I feel my hand slipping and the water is strong, it hits me, and my Dad turns and tries to pull me but I have to let go, and it’s just me and Andy, and the dolphins are less, and it’s me and Andy, and Andy is blue, and the water is dark but I’m keeping his head above water like my Dad said, I’m holding him with his head up.
‘Stephen!’
‘Alan!’
‘Dad! Help!’
The water is strong and it punches my Dad and my Dad is pulled down and my hand snaps off his hand and I am pulled back, and the water is taking me out I am going back out.

My Dad is down he is under the water, I watch him go down and I can’t see him. I watch him go under the water and the water swimming and the current is strong and I am away… I am away, I am away and I’m moving back into the dark water, back to the shelf. I watch where my Dad was but I can’t see him, me and my brother are going away.

Andy’s head is above the water and he is blue and he is not moving and I can’t see my Dad. Andy’s eyes are closed, and he is soft, he is floating on the moving water, I am holding him.  The dolphins are gone. Then I see my Dad, but he is far away. He is swimming to us, but he is moving back, we are faster.
‘Alan!’
‘Dad!’

Dad is swimming hard and fast and I’m trying to swim to him but I can’t, I can’t it’s just my arm ‘cos if I do I will let go of my brother and I don’t want to let go of him ‘cos my Dad said hold him and keep his head above the water but I want to swim to my Dad but I can’t, my brother.
‘Dad!’
‘Stay there!’ my Dad is screaming. ‘Hold….’ But I can’t hear him now, the water is loud, I am moving away.

The water is carrying us fast now, I am moving fast in the water, and the water is strong, it’s stronger than my Dad, the water is bigger than my Dad, it’s bigger. I am the biggest, but the water is bigger. I hold my brother tight and I am flying in the water, and the eagle is gone, and the dolphins are gone, they were moving in a circle. My brother is blue and sleeping in the water. I am holding him.

I am floating, and moving into the shelf, back to the really dark water. It’s just me and Andy, and the water is strong, and I lie on my back and I am scared. I can feel my heart, beating fast.

I look up at the sky. The sky is blue, my brother is blue, the water is dark.

The electric said we are made from stars.

(This story will continue next week. Stay tuned.)

Mettā and Peace
– Stephen


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