My Work, On Being Human

Seven Centimeters Below The Surface

It didn’t take long for her to find that spot either. Following the now gentle flow of water to the end of her long hall and around the first turn, she was awed by how much of what had once been ship was no longer there. A giant gaping hole opened up before her and she dismissed the questions in her mind regarding what had happened. A bomb? An accidental explosion inside the boat? Did it run into something? These were things to spend energy on later. First she had to find her way out of there.

Swimming carefully around the sharp twisted metal around the edges of the hole, she felt a twinge of relief as she made it outside the great ship. Thankfully the sun was still shining, even considering the hour, and she could see where she needed to go. Her lungs were beginning to ache, holding that last gasp for now almost two minutes was taking its toll. As she cleared the ship and moved out into open water with a straight line of sight to the glorious surface, she felt a tug on her dress as the hem caught on the gnarled wreck behind her.

Frissell, Toni
(model in dolphin tank, 1939 fashion photo by Toni Frissell)

Momentarily jolted out of her tranquil, focused state, she turned, grabbed her dress and pulled, then pulled again harder. The dress tore easily enough and it made her heart twinge with a strange, and now ridiculous, sadness. She bought that dress especially for tonight. She had seen it in the boutique window near her home, and stopped every day to admire it. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. The fabric looked as if it were made of whispers, it was so thin, and yet, there. Tiny pearls had been stitched on, in radiant patterns, affixed with the most delicate of threads imaginable. It was off-white one could say, or ivory, but it’s layers and layers of translucence made identifying a specific color nearly impossible. The pearls gave the wearer a subtle, opalescent glow, and the first time she tried that dress on, she felt as if she herself had been woven of magic.

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