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Seven Minutes to Regret
Drowning is said to be one of the most frightening ways to die. They say this is because you can feel the water forcing its way down your throat and into your lungs, scraping its way down as it replaces your air, stretching your lungs until they burst. Also, did you know they say your brain keeps functioning for seven minutes after you die?
Water flowed around my ankles, gentle and hesitant. I waded deeper into the ocean, the liquefied ice tugging at my knees, willing me to go in deeper. I listened to all it had to offer: Peace, escape, a chance to wash away all my problems and sorrows forever; a proposal incapable of finding elsewhere. A cold breeze whispered in my ear, ruffling my white nightgown and tossing my cinnamon hair around. Goosebumps rose on my arms, my skin twitching.
One more step, it encouraged, whispering to me through the blueberry pink sky. I rubbed my hand over my flat stomach, a place that would never hold life.
Memories of the mugging – a man with a long blade – flocked my mind. Crimson gushed between my fingers as I had tried to stop the bleeding. Sirens – nearly too late.
Gratefully I took another step, and the rocky sand quivered under my feet contently. I shivered in response to the cold as the water hugged my stomach.
Petite waves rolled around me, white foam swimming past me as the smell of salt tickled my nose.
Just close your eyes, smile, and take a seat, another tranquil gust of air whispered.
I crossed my pale arms over my heavy-hearted chest and the water began licking my elbows. Tilting my head towards the heavens, I took a deep breath and imagined the grieving clouds as beds that I would soon lay upon. My blue eyes clicked shut as I slowly took one more step and descended into the black triumph.
I knew I was in for more than I had bargained for when I felt the waters greed. It plucked my feet up and held me under, placing all its weight on me as forcefully as it could. It didn't want to be patient, oh no, it wanted me now.
I gasped as I lost all sense of direction. The world spun and it felt as if I'd been thrust upwards into a space sans gravity. I thrashed out, trying to right myself. I felt my hand break the surface, only to be jarred back down by an angry wave of black. The water wrenched my lips open and slid quickly down my pink throat like a snake attacking its prey. It bit the bottom of my lungs, forcing me to scream, merely to have the sound encased in bubbles.
The salt pulled at my vision, grazing against the blue of my eyes. It dug up the veins from the whites of them, viciously stealing my sight.
Before I knew it the water had permanently silenced me. Three minutes – not even – that’s all it took. My body submerged as I lay on my back just below the surface of the cold oblivion. Water seeped into my ears as if it planned to keep the painful memory of death intact. Water lapped around my body, growing calmer after the struggle I had encountered within it.
They say your brain keeps working for at least another seven minutes after you die... Die... Die...
"Rosaleen!" a papery voice shouted.
My eyes were fixed on the now dark blue, buttery sky above me. But I didn't need my sight to know whose voice had intruded my head. The golden band on my ring finger became heavy as I thought of him. He was the man who had accepted my traumatized, torn self – which I had become after the stabbing – without hesitation.
"Oh God! Rosaleen!" The voice stirred the ocean around me and warm hands glided me atop it quickly.
Rocks and sand rolled under my back as Micheal dragged me onto the shore.
"Breathe!" he demanded, his hands pumping my chest.
The smell of gold and roses wafted around me, touching me softly like butterflies trying to escape the wind. His pain etched face came into view, and I wished I could have done something to look away. Water dripped slowly off his satin black hair, his own tears following their descent.
"Come on, breathe!" He began to sob, his hands pleading on the sides of my face.
If I could have cried, I would have.
"Why would you do this sweetheart? Why?" A sob crawled up his throat and pounded on the back of his barred teeth.
This was my fault. He knew why I'd done it; he'd heard my reasoning before. He just couldn't understand why I would go through with it. There were many things I could have done. Children everywhere were as heartbroken as I was. I could have taken and mended those hearts, stamping my name on them as they did likewise to mine. Who cared if I wasn't their biological mother? They wouldn't have. Some of them would have been grateful to have me rather than their blood family. I had just thought Micheal would replace me eventually. Impetuous thinking on my half I understood now.
I knew my seven minutes was up when I felt a force tug me. Suddenly I was looking down at Micheal and I. He had collapsed beside me on the ivory sand, still weeping like a child.
Against my will, I averted my glance to my empty shell of a body. My eyes held a deep emptiness, sending a shiver through my bones. My body laid still, water slowly trickling from the corners of my parted lips.
Mid-sob his weeping stopped abruptly. His head rose, eyes glazed over as if he were sleep-walking. Hesitant he stood, his puffy eyes locked on the death starved water. It teased him as he dragged his body towards it. The rush of waves giggled as they lapped the sand.
As if he were trudging through molasses with a child on his leg, he stepped slowly into the water.
Tears pounded in the corners of my eyes, dead blood boiling with anger in my veins. How dare he! After years of telling me how suicide was wrong he was readying himself to commit it!
Selfish. The thought pounded in my head. Yes, I was selfish, a hypocrite in a way. But there was nothing wrong with him; he didn't need to die. A feeling gnawed at me, telling me that he didn't care how many inadequacies his reason for death had. I had made the mistake first. I should have thought of the possibility of him following me to a spiralling death.
"Death will never do us part." His voice was deep with loathing.
I could see Micheal reasoning with the water. He closed his pained eyes and receded into the depths, a sad smile playing at the corners of his lips.
I screamed, terror ripping at my insides. My voice was lost in the crumbling atmosphere of pain. Like a foggy winter breath, I saw the sound dissolve in the air in front of me as it summoned from around, coming from every indecisive direction rather than my own lips.
The water attacked him like a pack of piranha, obtaining an iron grip on the inside of his throat. I found myself pacing at the edge of the cloud, hot tears falling like a steady rain from my eyes, welling up and spilling over before I could wipe them away. He stopped thrashing, his body beginning to sink deep into the water. I tried to climb down from the cloud, a mission as simple as escaping from a heavily guarded prison cell. I wanted to reach down. I wanted to snatch up his body so I could lay him down beside me on the sand. Instead I had to cope with the fact that his body may never be found, lost at sea forever. I felt helpless, and I despised that.
Seven minutes of heart wrenching hell passed by as I waited. I wondered what he was seeing, what he was thinking. Did he regret dying like I had?
But after the seven minutes was up, he was standing beside me, his eyes bright with happiness, his lips contradicting the emotion.
"I'm sorry," I murmured, my voice a pitiful whisper.
"I love you." He planted a delicate kiss on my wet, cold lips.
I returned the phrase, all the while aching to bring the two of us back in time to when I had first confessed my thoughts of suicide. I would instead tell him it was all right, that I would soon be all right. But all I had done was torn apart a heart and soul that had spent so long stitching mine together and waiting for the scars to heal.