• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 03
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I put my phone in an empty mug, and I put myself in a lukewarm bath. My brother gave me a speaker for my birthday last year, but I prefer the cup’s muffle-echo.

The only thing I want to listen to is a playlist I found on one of my sleepless nights, in the depths of the internet. "Unexplained Sounds."

There are some from space, but I prefer the underwater ones. The ones from the vastness of the Pacific, from under ice sheets at the top and the bottom of the world. From the darkest, most unknowable places. They sound even better when I'm in the water.

“Bloop” – so liquid, like it’s moving somewhere in my own body, looping through my stomach, heart, head. The roaring crash of “Slow Down”, tearing through layers of lightless water. “Whistle”, which led me to look up how hydrophones work – the submarine equipment that captured these sounds, these sounds that have captured me.

My favourite, the one I listen to over and over again, is the one that shares my name. Julia. Almost three minutes, and they think it can be explained by a huge iceberg off Antarctica.

But I can hear the voice. I can hear it calling me, and I understand why sailors jumped in when they saw seals, when they saw mermaids, when they heard voices. I understand why their widows walked the clifftops, looking for sails, listening for their voices snatched away on surf and wind. My fingers pucker and the bathwater cools around me, and I hear the voice calling me.