• Vol. 03
  • Chapter 03
Image by

Water Wings

When the arm cuff inflated he thought of water wings and his first swim at the local pool. The first strokes without, the first jump off the diving board, the first time he ran into the sea - all those stepping stones, leaps, bounds, and now this pitiless tapering out. The heart had lost its knack.

The day after, he sat in the garden and got drenched. He had woken to the heavy beat of rain, a sound both ominous and reassuring, and checked his limbs for relative coherence. Not quite 5 am when he shlepped outside. Still dark; sky, ground, foliage in grey hues, colours lying in wait. A few windows in the neighbourhood lit up, dull yellow cut-outs. He pulled the chair away from the wall he normally leant against and sat, eyes closed, shivering in the morning chill. Salvos of fat drops on hands, face, shoulders, the rest of him, drumming sensations directly on skin, through dressing gown. Different degrees of cold. Feet warm in socks and slippers. The metal staircase rising behind him - drops swelling and falling at longer, irregular intervals; from further off the hum of car engines and the occasional aeroplane.

For as long as he could he stayed in place, which was suddenly new. By first light, the elements moved out of reach again. Something to remember though.