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I was never too keen about swimming.

I remember sitting on hot grainy sand that stuck to my scabbed knees as I built castles taller than me and stared at the ocean’s vast reach as the water turned to glitter in the sunlight and shimmered so long and bright that eventually I’d go stand at the shore and let the water play with my toes but would dig my heels deep into the sand because while the ocean was seductive and sultry it was also a beast that was so much bigger than me with a whole unknown world resting in its belly. And although letting the waves cradle me as I would float on my back occasionally was always fun, I also knew how quickly and easily the ocean could swallow me so deep, I’d never again see it glitter beneath the sun.

A delusion of control that cut every casual swim too short until life on land suddenly got too busy and the days spent by the ocean became a luxury that belonged to special occasions and birthday celebrations and that one time on four-twenty. But mostly the sea faded deep into the background as the days blurred into one long routine of waking up alone in a place that no longer feels like home, wondering when I resigned to a life I no longer recognize even though I set out to chase dreams that were my own but nobody tells you how many doors are already closed. The little girl on the beach was told to dream because the stars were within her reach and yet here I am with a tight bun slicked back wearing my dreams on my heart and sleeve but everyone just smiles condescendingly and reminds me to stop kidding myself; we’re all just nobodies.

So the days go on and hallways are lined with eyes watching my every move as if I have something to show or prove, but I’m not sure why my life concerns you? But some are cheerleaders that have watched me grow and announce proudly how they just know I’m destined for great things so I swallow my tongue because they don’t need to see I’m faking it. Most days I wake up breaking, the exhaustion already deep in my bones as I avoid picking up the phone to have conversations I have no energy for and I wonder when did living one day at a time translate into this resigned state of mind; why does living require so much fight?

Even though every day gets a little darker it doesn’t seem to concern me anymore so the hours, all twenty-four, have meshed into one long moment of occasional laughs to corny jokes and making up excuses for returning calls from long ago as I keep my cracking heart from spilling open by usually being stoned and yet every night all the tears smothered inside seem to overflow soaking all four pillows, and all the fear and anxiety condenses into sweat that floods the bed as I wake up with a start, panting and drowning in all that I spent all day running from, as I whisper a prayer to You, to finally let in some sun.

I was never too keen about swimming.

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