Julia swims with sharks. She puts her head underwater and feels the pressure in her ears. She opens her eyes underwater. She likes the way the light becomes a hazy mesh curtain. She wants to cut it into strips. She wants to make it a dress or a shirt or a nice pair of pants. She wants to cut it into strips and tie it up her arms and make sleeves out of the sunlight and the way it splits and breaks and falls into ever distancing pieces of light down to the bottom of the ocean. She reaches out her hand and a shark swims under it, lets her move her hand over its back, its dorsal fin, its tail. It twists back, it moves toward her, swimming without showing effort. A smooth angle toward her body, her center. Julia treads water. She is still holding her breath. Her eyes are still open. Her ears still throbbing with the weight of the water around her. Her skin starting to chill. The shark’s eyes roll back. She doesn’t focus on the white eyes, the white teeth, the sun’s light making the body of the shark blend with the shadows of the ocean. She puts her tongue out and what she thinks is that it is so strange, this salt water. She thinks it is so strange that she can’t open her lungs and breathe. But then, she does. She does take a breath and everything is fine. Everything works. And she laughs. And she breathes the water. And she laughs. And everything is fine.
On the Rocks