1. The dive
My breathing becomes more ragged with every breath. I must only have minutes left. I thought about releasing my tanks and attempting to untangle my leg but it was a pointless effort. I was stuck, truly stuck. How unlucky I must be! The only weed in sight and my left leg gets matted up in it. I can feel it scratching my calf. So quick to return to the surface was I; to tell the others what I had witnessed that I hadn’t looked where my flipper had kicked. To make it worse, the flipper doesn’t have the release mechanism! If it did I would be at the surface now. Seeing the sun begin to dip over the horizon, eating the ham sandwiches from my lunch bag and drinking that cool, refreshing cola. Living my life to the max. I was planning on diving on the Great Barrier Reef once I had built up my funds. Yet instead, I am here, slowly dying.
They must know something’s wrong – I should have returned by now. They must be looking. Screaming won’t help me due to the tiny fact that I am twenty metres underwater – panicking – off the coast of Egypt. My heart is pounding through my rib cage. It hurts so much; just let it be over, please. I’ve never believed in God but if there is one, somewhere, then let me die quickly. I don’t like the idea of suffocating or drowning, I’ve always thought of myself living a long, grand life. I am doomed. I am certain of that. If they are looking for me then they won’t expect me to be this far out.
I looked around. A couple of angel fish were darting in and out of the rays of sunlight, shimmering like the waves at sunset that I have seen so many times. But no more. Shoals of fish joined them in what seemed to me like a final farewell. Everything went blank as my mask steamed up. The indication of no more air. The sign that every diver dreads but I have never witnessed; until now. Death looked at me through the mist of life swirling in front of me. How lonely I am – which is rather ironic – considering I am in the biggest area in the world.
Help, Help, Help I hear myself calling to try to drown out the beeping of my oxygen regulator and of course the impending doom. Damn the seaweed – my hanging rope, holding me twenty metres from freedom; literally three strokes away. Beep, beep, beep mixing with the thumps of my heartbeat. Beep thump, beep thump. My only wish is to sleep through this madness. I am as good as a deprived lump of black textile swaying calmingly around in circles depending on which way the current pulls. I am driftwood. There is no other way to put it. My eyes well up and produce tears as my eyelids close and shut out the world.
I wake up on a boat...