The noisy little boat had taken us far out into the ocean yet the water was still clear enough to see straight down to the sand. The water was a greenish turquoise-y blue like they always show on commercials for tropical vacation spots. Our hired tour guide/captain told us that this was a great spot for snorkeling so we put our masks and fins on. I was the last one to jump off the boat. As I plunged into the water I felt terribly numb. I wasn’t excited to see the fish, I wasn’t delighted by the warm waters, I wasn’t even happy to be on vacation. As everyone swam around pointing furiously at all kinds of fish I just let the salty ocean carry me. The best part about the snorkeling was how quiet everything was. I was free to feel nothing underwater. No one could ask me what was wrong or why I was scowling. The mask hid my expression, the snorkeling hid my lack of activity. If I could have stayed there forever, I would have. When a sharp blow of a whistle sounded I felt like I’d been sleeping for a year. I pulled my head out of the water and looked around me. I was far from the rest of the group physically and mentally. I didn’t want to go back to the boat, back to the hotel, or back home but I started swimming towards it all anyway. The ride back to shore was as quiet as the water had been, all the snorkelers were exhausted, and I pulled the silence around me like a soft blanket. I spent the rest of vacation in my hotel room with noise-canceling headphones, allowing myself to be numb and alone. On the plane ride I realized that I couldn’t stay in the numb ocean forever and I knew I would feel sadness like no other when I arrived at my empty house. I wasn’t ready for it, but at least I felt the apprehension.


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