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Aspen looks down at the crystal-clear water caressing her ankles. She is mesmerised by the image of her feet, as it constantly shifts under the influence of hundreds of tiny ripples competing with each other in a constant tug of war game: who will cause the most visual distortion, who will make Aspen’s feet look like they are shrinking and swelling, splitting and melting. Although it is only a visual distortion, to Aspen it always feels like the sea is transferring some of its energy into her feet.
Occasionally, tiny but powerful sparkles explode on the surface, like strings of supernovas or Christmas lights set on random flashing mode. One sun, turned into thousands of sparkles. As the water gets deeper, Aspen can still see every detail. Every little pebble, every tiny twig or broken seashell, and occasionally a fish or a crab, taking their time as they forage curiously through the underwater garden, much in the same way that a lady does in a farmer’s market: occasionally picking up a lettuce or piece of fruit, then quickly putting it back. It wasn’t what they thought it was. They’ll find something better.
And then she dives in. Now she’s flowing amongst the fish, the kelp, looking up through a cloud of up-and-coming bubbles, and into an emerald sky above. The green-blue hue gets more and more brilliant, as tropical fish and other sea life join her on a stroll along the shallow reef. It is a busy morning, and everyone is out and about. Soft corals wave back and forth as they sway in the gentle current, as if trying to direct the busy traffic above.
Suddenly a cloud draws in. It gets dark. It gets really dark. The emerald-green hue turns into a grey-blue, then black. She wakes up. She hears a loud flapping sound. It is the wet curtain, flogging itself uncontrollably in the wind. The window is wide open.
It is hurricane season.
George is an author, researcher, podcast host, chemist, molecular biologist and food scientist. You can follow him on Twitter @99blackbaloons , listen to his Spotify podcast George reads George, sign up for blog alerts below, or enjoy his books