Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Father (as in paternal parent, not God) (04/10/08)
TITLE: Does He Know?
By Sally Hanan
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Only water met his sole, down…down…down…until his whole body tilted and yanked him after it. The quick breath he had taken before going under was shallow—as shallow as the water above the bank of rock he had fallen from. Some deeper part of him roared, grasping for life and breath and solid ground. Arms, legs, hair—all flailed together--until it occurred to him to turn back to the step he had taken for granted, the one he had lifted his foot off, the one that had held him so explicitly and steadfastly only seconds before. It was the only security he had known.
He could not find it.
He could only sense its distant presence.
Panic filled his gut.
The trust he had placed in the rock had been blind, yet the rock had let him fall, had let him move forward without grasping or calling him home. He began to see that his place on that stony bank had been held with his own acquiescence; with his arms and hands and willingness to move with the flow of the tide.
The unprocessed fear dissipated. He motioned his arms up and down into a slower, rhythmic motion that sliced through the gentle waves pushing against his torso. His feet and legs flexed and pointed and kicked until his face arose through the watery ceiling above him. His mouth opened to imbibe the salty air in triumph.
The step was still there, close by, somewhere, but it had led him to the edge of the world ahead and
now that he was in it,
he could swim.
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