Page 5 - Encounter in the ocean
At what point does a crisis begin? One minute, we were laughing and playing around on the shore, the next - Van was acting on impulse and stripping off. As I watched her innocence, and realized her intent was to get right in there - in  that mystical blue, and be part of the experience, I never noticed the danger swimming towards us. 
I stood at the water's edge, gazing down and watching as she swam - a  magnificent mermaid - through the rippling world of plankton... when, without warning, it happened: a sudden transparent colour in the water, a fleeting glimpse of shock upon a water-rippled face, a stream of air bubbles, and then a terrible instinctive feeling that my Vanessa was doomed!

I was in the water in a flash. Maybe there was a fleeting thought about capability... water-logged clothes... and purpose... but it was wiped aside by an overwhelming feeling that my Vanessa was gonna die.  Thinking back... I realize now - it was 'time' and 'fate' as 'hand and arm' which took me in that moment, and tossed me like a dart into the sea of our possible futures! 

In quiet moments late in the evening here in Putney, when  I stand alone and watch with a late night drink in hand - the timeless Thames crawling darkly beneath - I realize I did not dive to save her... but to die with her! And I tremble with that shiver which comes when one connects momentarily  with an instinctive sense of 'before-life' and 'after-death'...  

...or is it just the drink?


As I look into the dark Whisky of my last glass tonight, I see again Vanessa's face slipping, as if asleep and somehow contented, into the lower ocean and away from the bright light of optimism and this temporary reality we call 'life'. 

I was stilled with cold in the sea. It was an instant thing.  

It wasn't the ocean: it was the cold of seeing beloved flesh turn white, and life leaking through lovers lips...  ...and me here, 5 yards too short to stop a gasp - which should have been triumphant scream, with eyes wide - not shut, and 2 souls joined by love in the dark - instead of that muted sigh alone. 

I saw her  clearly... dead... the 'half' of me... and knew I was lost! 


And maybe too... I saw a light...
...something else: the thing that came and struck 'un-knowing'. To this day, I'd swear I saw that jelly fish flung across the fine divide of species boundaries, clung tight and firm to the lips I'd caressed and explored so lovingly... and oh, so strangely - 'it'  giving life!  I know this was a special sight - a shadow of reality, a furtive symbol from the mind or of the ocean... who knows? 
All I knew was - "The jelly-fish which stung her blindly now caressed her strangely... as if to give her breath and hope... as if to save her...!" 
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(c) Larry Legg, Vanessa Summers, & Lightscape 1998
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