My ears pop as I break through the water’s surface. Where once there was silence, now there is a rush of life: the wind blows, the seagulls cry, on the beach a group of boys swordfight with sticks.
I swam for hours. My aching limbs are relieved but my mind already misses the stillness only an ocean can provide. Under the water all sight is blurred and all noise is stunted. All needs fade away except for two – keep moving and breathe.
I jumped off the bridge because I had no other option. The two I owed my life are gone; the ones I owed money were coming. I had nothing but my white dress and they wanted to take that first, then what was under it second.
So, I swam.
The boys on the beach stop playing and turn to watch as I emerge between waves. The dress clings to my body, catches in the sun. I must be a sight for their young eyes; one even drops his stick to stare.
I see them, and in them I see the men who chased me off the bridge. Only they are not those men. My knees cut along the sand as my legs give out. The boys run towards me and I try not to fear. This is not that; that was hell, this is freedom.