I know that our feet first pressed into and second leapt off the boulder at the same time. And going up into the air, I could have been your shadow. But at the freeze frame peak point, before going down, before hitting the warm spring water, our synchrony unraveled, and I got scared. Or maybe I got scared first, and that caused our synchrony to unravel. Either way, it was then that I changed my mind. I didn’t want to hit the water anymore, I realized. I wanted to go back to the boulder. I missed that warm protective thing. I wished we would have just sat there longer and listened a little more closely to the whoosh medley of the humming air around us and the rushing water below. Wished we would have felt a little more of our respective skins getting redder instead of provoking the springs. and having it get all violent now, after we’d spent all day luxuriating in it. But of course, it was too late for all that. We had jumped, and whether I wanted to or not, I had stumbled in the air and was falling, feeling confused as to where in the air my joy went, instead of going in all kamikaze like you.
I hit the water with a smack. Luckily, you were already under and probably didn’t hear it. If a thigh smacks on the surface of water and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? I hit the water with panic. I struggled and fought back at the nothing. Kicked my legs into heavy nowhere. When my thighs started to burn, I stopped and steadied. I opened my eyes to see my new surroundings glowing and felt my panic melt into fascination. Eyes wide, no sense of irritation.
I transcended. What was I so worried about before? I couldn’t even remember. I transcended when I felt my hair splay out, giving way to the gentle pulls of the new air. New air! I realized how fresh the air was. I could actually breathe so free. Like putting on glasses for the first time. Or realizing love.
I remembered who I came with. I wondered if you were breathing under water too. I began to look for you when I felt your rough grip on my burning arm, tugging my burning skin, tugging my whole body up up up, out of the water. I struggled free. I think I scared you. I said “ow.”
We tread water. We were in the center of the scenery and the universe.
You were obviously out of breath. “Hey are you okay? Listen, I’m really sorry I made you jump. I won’t do that again.” You were ripe red with, what, concern? Anger?
“You don’t need to be sorry. I’m sorry.”
You asked if I wanted to get out of there. I said no it’s fine let’s stay for a while.
“Cool, “ you say. “I can stay here forever.” Then you dip under the surface.
I follow. I look at your hair. How it splays out in the water too. We look at each other the same sometimes, and I feel beautiful here. I can stay here forever too.