Twenty Minutes

64 6 17

I'm so excited. I haven't felt the wind in my sails for a very long time. Dare I say, I'm happy? As the thought crosses my mind, I sense an old familiar hex crouching down by the road, near the mailbox, but I can't stop to worry about that now...

I'm busy, busy, busy showing these life-size people my beautiful new home, still under construction. It will be a sturdy house, with all the right angles, gracious spaces, and generous views. My arms sweep this way and that, describing the vision, finishing touches still hovering in the air, unsettled. Oh, and yes, I say, we're building a workshop with an art studio above... As a group, we approach a perimeter wall, windowless and gaping, to peer down at the framing for all things creative. A dark hulk in a deep bass blurts, you mean storage space for summer tires, don't you? I decide to not be hurt by this stranger's lack of faith in my artistic impulses. We move out onto a lavish deck overlooking the ocean.

I never realized, until this very moment, how clear its blue-green tides run. I can see rocks far below that form and contain our lovely cove. I feel a sudden urge to dive in, as its mysterious depths beckon. I notice wooden keys protruding from the rocks, where a vessel could easily berth. I touch your arm to draw your attention to this possibility. Without a word, you fall in, facing me, as though I've pushed you. With a strange smile, you remove your wedding band and toss it aside as you plunge feet first.

The ring clangs against a metal stanchion and bounces into the water. I keep watching to see where it will go, hoping to retrieve it. As the gold band sinks into the depths, it rings a bright resonant note. I've lost sight of it and stand there, eyes closed, listening. As the sound grows fainter and fainter, my grief deepens. When I can no longer hear it, I open my eyes. I've no idea where you've gone. No one else seems to have noticed. I call out for you, realizing I was so caught up in losing the symbol of our union, the ring representing our marriage, that I've completely lost sight of you...

I know you're not a strong swimmer. By now the day has clouded over and a brisk wind blows. I panic. Shaking, I strip off my clothes and jump in. The ocean has turned an inky black. Treading water, I turn this way and that, but there's no sign of you or where you could have gone. I call out, asking when help will arrive. Someone yells, in twenty minutes. I don't have twenty minutes, I yell back, to no one in particular. I'm enclosed by a deep lock, in coldest water, with no way out. And I don't have twenty minutes.     

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