Swimming Out To Sea

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 31, 2018

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Submitted: July 31, 2018

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Swimming Out To Sea.

Fiona needed space to think and where better than the sea. It had been a while since she had taken to the water, but she had been a strong swimmer, an accomplished one that had won medals in the past. She would not have lost it, that talent. Wasn’t swimming one of the things that they’d said ‘Once learned, never forgotten’ about.

It had been a surprise, a pleasant one, that her old swimsuit still fit her. It was one for a professional, not for a body to parade around on the beach in. Not provocative but practical. Even so, she knew that she looked good in it; not that it mattered, where she was heading there would be no one else around to see her.

Fiona looked at Tim, still sleeping soundly in their bed. How could he feel so blameless when he had just shattered what she had believed were shared future plans. She’d never wanted to leave this place, had refused to discuss it. He’d only gone off alone and found a buyer so that they could move to the city.

The city! She hated to feel caged in, and now he wanted to stick her in an apartment so that he could follow his dreams and strangle hers. It seemed to be a situation that could not be resolved; not by sticking together at least. The question that was bothering her was how could she stop him selling what was her home too.

Fiona knew the perfect spot. A cove that no one else seemed to have discovered was just forty-five minutes drive away. The weather wasn’t too cold; she’d swum in much worse conditions. It was the only way that she could imagine being able to clearly think.

She left him there, Tim, wrote a quick note that she left on the kitchen table. She said she’d be back later but did not say where she was going. After the row the previous night, they needed some time apart. Besides, Tim didn’t swim. Wasn’t that what had stopped her; his reluctance to sit around while she travelled her way through the water? No, better that he had no idea where she was heading.

Fiona shut the door quietly and drove the car down the drive on to once familiar overgrown roads.

* * * *

Breathing a sigh of relief, Fiona parked the car in the small lay-by. There had only ever been space enough for one vehicle and the fact that no-one was already parked indicated that she would get what she wanted – the cove to herself. There were very few properties in walking distance after all.

Locking the car and taking her bag, she walked along the cliff to the path she still could picture so well inside her head. A bit more overgrown than she remembered, but that was good, pointed to it being rarely used by anyone. There had never been any other way down to the cove before, so unless a new one had sprung up, she would find her bit of solitude.

First she sat for a while, letting the sea breeze cool her, then she walked along the edge of the waves, first removing her jacket, then her jumper and jeans. Her swimsuit already on, she carefully made a pile of her clothes, her bag, then stepped in to the sea.

The water was cold, but Fiona had learned a long time ago that taking her time over reaching deeper water would not help her get warm. She needed to head out quickly in to water where she could submerge her shoulders; only then would her body temperature start to adapt. Once she could dip herself down, she could start to strike out to sea.

Strange how quickly she picked up the rhythm, how her arms reached out and her legs kicked strongly. The smell of the sea, the pull of the waves soon held her under that same old spell of long ago.

There had to be an answer somewhere. She’d swim on until her thoughts had cleared, until she could think of a solution. Fiona had expected her body to tire but instead she felt energized, strong, totally at one with the water. The freedom of it was intoxicating, spurring her on to head further and further out to sea.

It wasn’t until she felt something brush against her leg that she even considered how far she might have swum. It wasn’t a shark or anything like that; they were never found in these parts. A fish, maybe. Nothing to worry about. Even though she reassured herself that she was in no danger, Fiona still looked back over her shoulder and was quite shocked to see how far away the beach now was.

Again, something brushed against her. A fish, just a fish; that’s what she frantically told herself as she turned and struck out towards the shore. It was so far though, and now her body had begun to tire. It became harder and harder to reach out with her arms, to kick with her legs. ‘You’re imagining it’, she told herself, but whether she meant the tiredness, or the things that were more frequently rubbing against her flesh she did not know.

The sting was a shock. Fiona gulped in water, spluttered, choked. Jellyfish! That had to be it! How many? And what kind were they? She could not see them in the water, but the stings were coming now, fast and furious. She lifted one arm and before plunging it back under the waves saw the swelling. Her legs must look the same. It was bad, really bad, and all she could do is to carry on swimming.

She’d come out looking for answers and in a way it seemed that she had found one. There was no way she was going to make it back. Her arms and legs were barely working, her sight was blurring and her mouth was dry.

Tim would get his way, the house would be sold. She would not have to live in the city. Even so, Fiona could not give in, her body would not let her, not until the very end when her head disappeared beneath the waves.


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