The faded conveyor belt slowly chugged along as the employee behind the register rang up items in the local mom n’ pop shop. Alice was fascinated by his monotone voice and pock marked skin. A stoner? She wondered what he ate when he got the munchies from the devil’s lettuce. She would’ve made homemade sweet potato gnocchi. Or perhaps fresh mushroom risotto with plenty of herbs and garlic and parmigiano straight from the cow. She salivated at the thought but also felt the telltale pit in her stomach that had been plaguing her for months now.
My hands are numb. All I can feel is a tingling sensation in my hands.
I wonder if they care.
Breathe. I can’t breathe. Like a heart attack. Weight on my chest that is so constricting. Maybe if I count in my head it will distract me.
It starts off black. It is a blissful blackness that seemingly has no end. That is, until I start to become aware of my surroundings. It is slow going at first, but once I know I am conscious, there is no stopping it. My senses start to kick in. Smell. . . everything smells clean, almost sterile. There is also a hint of latex. Sound. . . I could hear something that sounded like metal clashing with each other. Scissors, maybe? Voices mumble around me but I can’t tell what they are saying. A persistent beeping resonates in the background. I feel a slight tugging sensation in my chest that becomes more persistent. I know I am lying on a hard surface, but not much else other than that.
The boat rocks in the choppy water. The heat of the day burns onto the top of my head as I try to pull the wetsuit onto my body. The unresisting rubber rips off the skin on my knuckles as I continue to struggle with it. I finally get my body completely immersed inside the suit. My chest feels tight from the intense claustrophobia I feel. I waddle over to my father who sits beside the oxygen tank. He places the straps of the vest on my shoulders and I push my arms through. The weight almost pulls me supine and I quickly adjust my center of gravity.