Life in the Water
Shark Fin, Nemo, Nessie; these are just some of the names that I have been called. I have been called by the name of every single thing that swims, because my obsession with the water is such. I have loved it as long as I can remember, and I have spent long summers just swimming in the water. I have suffered from terrible sunburns, but none that I regret. I love the water too much to blame it.
My real name, isn’t Nemo, or Dory. It is Reid James. I know that it doesn’t sound like a swimmer’s name, but I guess I can’t change that. I am Reid and that’s all I can do about it. I am turning eighteen and I am leaving school. I have participated in all the swimming competitions, and have won medals. Swimming meets, water polo, you name it, and I am there, swimming head on for the win.
I have always loved swimming; it helps me take my mind off the burdens of life. It helps me to become one with myself and helps me detach myself from the world. When my mom died in a car accident, I turned to the water. When my father got drunk the night of her funeral and cried his heart out, and I had no one to turn to, I turned to the water. When my sister, Alisha left us, turning her back on us, saying that we make her feel constricted, I turned to the water.
You can’t trust people to always be with you; they leave, they betray you, lie, hurt you, and make your life a pain; but the water comforts you, it allows you to be you, it allows you to form a cocoon of yourself, it then surround you, and your pain, and then takes away all your discomfort. This is what true love is. I love the water, for it is the only thing that has been beside me, supporting me all the time.
I am always away from home, whenever I can, at the earliest time of day as late as I can stay. I always travel around the world, competing, for the win. However, as a result of this I have sometimes done poorly no my exams, to get the wrath of my father down on me. He always said that swimming was something I should do as a hobby, and not make a life out of it. He hated that I prioritized it. So it didn’t come as a surprise to me when he turned on me after I finished my final exams.
I had, by God’s grace, passed all my exams; I had not achieved any exemplary results, but they were great. He wanted me to apply to a college, with what he had saved up for me all these years, and then start a degree. He said that I could do international business management, or engineering, or anything that would provide me with a good salary, allowing me to make a life, but I didn’t want to restrict myself to one place like that, and bury myself in books; I wanted to be surrounded by water, not pages!
I didn’t want to run away, like Alisha did. I couldn’t break my dad’s heart like that, just like they did. Mom left, then Alisha; I was all he had left. I had to make him understand. I walked to the back to find him sitting on the backyard steps, playing with Alisha’s cat. She had loved the thing so much. It is the only remnant of her that she left for us. Dad didn’t like cats, but ever since Alisha left, he has been spending more and more time with it. That was when I realized how much he loved her, and how much he missed her.
“Dad,” I began, a sad smile playing my lips, when I realized that he was thinking of Alisha. “Reid,” he said as he turned, as he noticed my presence.
His eyes glistened in the sun, and he smiled at me.
“Dad, I’ve got something to say.”
He looked at me, waiting for me to continue.
“I don’t want to hurt you, ‘coz I love you, and you know that, but I can’t go to college. It’s too constricting and I feel like I would be trapped. I want to let myself go, I want to swim, I want to be that dolphin, enjoying my leaps in the air, as I swim at my pace. I can’t do that if I tie myself to college.” I looked down, “Sorry Dad.”
“So that’s what I do, huh? I make everyone feel constricted. Eva left me, then Alisha, now you. I see the pattern now, but it’s too late to change anything now.”
I looked up to see tears in his eyes.
Alisha never visited us, never even called after she left, and it hurt dad a lot. I didn’t want to be the one to break him.
“Dad. It’s not you,” he looked up, “I have this crazy love for the water, and I don’t seem to be able to let go of it. Anyone else in my position would have loved to take your offer and go to college, but unfortunately, I am not anyone else,” I sat down in front of him, “I am not going anywhere, I will always be right here,” I said, pointing at his heart, “Right here, next to mom and Alisha. I will call you whenever I get the chance. I will call you so much, you’d want to swim up to me and then throw me to the sharks! I will visit you all the time. You wouldn’t even notice that I am gone.”
Dad laughed, his heart laugh.
“Go swim son. Go where the water calls you. That’s where you belong. That’s where you have always belonged.”