I am writing a story about the sea. How many ways there are to say salt. How many ways to describe the nets of light shivering on the water. How many words for hunger, and for deep.
I once wrote here about wanting to become a mermaid. About being an adult who still sometimes dreams of her legs slimming to a single silver point, ending in a sweep of fin. Who tastes salt and imagines breaking out of her true element into a bright slate of sky, the taste of home in her mouth.
Lately, I have been feeling not quite myself. Anxiety rises in me like a drift of smoke: faint, at first, then a choking dark that thickens my lungs. The way blood spilled in water begins as a cloud, a slow-unfurling fog of pink, before it deepens, rusts, and calls to sharks.
It has been a long time since I felt this stirring. I stumble under its weight but I do not fall. I keep on moving, keep on writing. I write of water, and this is how I keep myself from drowning.
There is salt under my tongue. My heart breaks blood against my ribs like a wave.
In my mind's eye, I hold an oyster, my favourite totem. A shut shell with a wash of light inside like a sky. Remember the grit that worked its way in, the irritant, the hardness at the beauty's heart. Remember that this is necessary before the pearl can start.