I think I dreamt of drowning one night in a vast tank surrounded by science-fictionesque steel walls. I fell slowly, as if the water were dark grey jelly, until I could no longer see the surface. A traveler lost in a sandstorm, giving up to the swirling winds of sand encompassing the dunes. A pig stuck in the mud. An astronaut untethered from their spacecraft.
I must have been about seven or eight. I remember telling my parents the next morning that I had had a nightmare, but that wasn’t completely true. It felt comforting, like when you collapse onto a couch after a long day and you can sink, sink, sink into the soft cushions and drift away. There was a book in the self-help section at a Barnes and Noble that said that dreams about drowning mean you want to go back to the comfort of the womb; that the emotions of the world are too much for you; that you want to revert back to the ultimate moment of peace. I can’t remember the peace of the womb, and I’m not inclined to return, but there is something to be said about the peace of being completely submerged in deep water. “A mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” Euphoria.
            Whenever I swam, I was drawn to the deep end. I tried to recreate that feeling by floating in the deep, holding my breath as long as I could. Of course, I kept my eyes open, until my chlorine-stung eyes had to close and my pruny fingers had to lift my body out of the pool. It was never as satisfying as the dream. You can see the bottom in a swimming pool, which appears after a humble six feet. I always floated to the top, unable to keep myself as low as I wanted to be. It was too sunny. The water was too violent, always in flux from the bodies moving around and playing in it. There weren’t any ripples in my abyss, just a smooth, foggy fall.
Hold a minor chord on a piano and push down the pedal. Let it reverberate.
Close your eyes.
            When you swim in a pool, it’s clear. You touch the rough bottom and stand in the shallows. When you swim in a lake, it’s murky. You touch the uncanny bottom and feel the silt and algae between your toes. When you walk into the ocean, it’s foamy. Your feet sink with every step into the sand as you navigate among the shells, rocks, seaweed, and maybe even an imposing crab. I want to go further. I don’t want to feel the ground. When you cannonball into the deep end, you have three sweet seconds of sinking down until you hit the bottom or until your full lungs propel you upwards, inevitably pushing your head towards the surface while the rest of your body remains submerged. Three seconds of onomatopoeia:
Pfwushhhh. Silence. Fwishhhh. Pause. Applause.
I settle for playing video games where you navigate the alien world in your scuba gear and discover the depths. I watch YouTube videos of daring folks who put on wetsuits and oxygen tanks and explore deep-sea wrecks, who find lost iPhones and old fishing lures and sea glass, who interact with the sea life and even some who pet sharks. I look at the Mass Diving website and stare at the price of the diving courses. For the online learning course, the pool practice, the equipment, and the ocean training, the total cost comes to $894.32. Nine-hundred bucks of aspirations. $894.32 for the chance to sink.
At the end of an exhausting day, I’ll collapse onto my hard twin bed and rest my head lazily onto the cool pillowcase. I’ll drift off into a dream, sailing on a raft taking me anywhere my subconscious finds relevant. The waves guide me into a slow and relaxing rhythm, pushing me along. No matter how hard I try, I stay afloat, never to sink again into the endless depths below me.