It was like losing a bee hive from between my ears.
Slipping into the green black water of the lake melted the madness quietly away. The familiar cadence of my arms moving in circles, pulling me forward, returned. The voice of correction – reminding my hips to float, reminding my chest to press down, reminding my giant head to work for me and not against me – was soft and sweet like an old friend, not like the taskmaster it had been last summer.
The business and the transition and noise of my life and the decisions and the emotions now slipped away. I felt strong again. I felt beautiful again. I felt certain. Confident. Like everything was simple.
The water. How I missed the water.
How I missed her quiet, serenely solitary silence.
The silence that comes from every cell overloaded with the touch of the Lake. The cocoon of safety that protected me from the outside world. The goal that sheltered me from a normal life and provided me with an extraordinary existence. Learning to fight the enemy in my head and finding there doesn’t have to be an enemy at all.
Me and the water and that brown dog by my side: simple as swimming.
I found the tears I needed to cry and I cried them until my goggles were full. I found the laughter I needed to laugh and I laughed into the distorted darkness.
Don’t you remember, Bethany? I asked myself. Don’t you remember?
The silence shouts at me from all directions, sound and sight together; they are still. The darkness. The stillness. The quiet; so loud! I remember the stars and the moon and the salt water and a black ship with three lights and four shrouded faces and England so far behind and France so near…
I can do anything.