Updated: Jan 31, 2022
The grey Canada sky greeted me one Sunday morning, an unsightly reminder of what days laid ahead. The weight of everything I'd been carrying with me up until that point, made it feel like I couldn’t move. My shoulder felt numb as I laid on my side. I had to do it. I had to get myself out of bed, get in my truck, and drive down to Saint Claren River, park down by the docks, and unload my boat, all of which was going to take until the afternoon. Get up, I urged myself. You know what needs to be done.
I accidentally locked my keys in the truck. The window was rolled down a few inches, which was not wide enough to fit my whole arm through. I used a screwdriver from the garage and had to jig open the driver side window to give me enough room to reach in and unlock the door. You’re good buddy, I reassured myself. Nothing but a minor setback.
As I drove through town, windows rolled down, breathing in the summer air, I could only think of my shoulder. That soreness, it was still there. How long had it been now, six or twelve weeks? Eyes focused on the road ahead, I shrugged my shoulders to try and loosen them up a bit. A bird flew overhead and caw-ed as it made its way toward the park next to us.
I parked the truck in my usual spot, and turned the engine off. I opened my door and threw my keys as hard and far as I could, which landed somewhere in the empty woods behind me. My mouth was all dry. Swallowing to try and generate some moisture, I coughed and looked toward my destination: there, past the walkways and the playgrounds, was Saint Claren River. Within what felt like a few short moments, I got my boat in the water, turned it on, and was approaching quickly the halfway point across the river.
After I could no longer see any people or wildlife in all directions around me, I stopped the boat and turned off the engine. Wow, just look at this. I beamed, looking at all the clear blue water, grey skies, and multicolored land around me. I get to remember this forever. I sat there in the boat, took off my hat, and laid down on the floor of the boat. I put the hat over my face to shield me from the sun. Then I waited until nightfall.
My eyes popped open. Like clockwork, they knew it was time.
I sat up in the boat, the hat sliding off my face and onto the floor of the boat. I reached up in my right pocket and pulled out the mini Maglight. Clicking it on, I shone it on the water in front of me, the beam of light piercing the darkness. Looking closely, I could see the beam pouring deep into the surface of the water. This was it. This was where I was going. “It’s time,” I said out loud. “I’m ready to come home.”
At that moment is when the familiar green tendrils snaked out from beneath the surface of the water. They swarmed out, flailing around the surface, and each one of them grabbed one of my limbs, and dragged me down beneath the surface of the water. Further down, deeper, deeper. I was being pulled down, making our way towards the deep cavern. This is it. It’s time to go home. My eyes clenched tight as I was pulled into the cavern.
It was the last time I was able to return to Earth’s surface. After this, my body could no longer withstand the force. It had really done a number on me the last time I made it to land, almost breaking my shoulder. But now, my shoulder didn’t hurt any longer. Nothing did.
My body was back in its liquid form, and I was able to swim freely again, the experiences of my time spent walking around the Earth’s surface slowly seeping into the water around me. It turned the water grey, grey like the skies in Canada.