This will be my last breath. My daughter dropped the birthday watch I gave her far away, in the lake. Our anchor hit ground, our rented boat rocks in rhythm, the search begins when I Dive. Cold. My ears squeal. Yachts hum from farther up the lake. The watch will be pink and glistening among scuffled-up dirt. My legs drag behind me. It only took five days of mojitos for every muscle cell I earned to bubble off me and into the distant sun. Whirling around down here, suffocating, is the closest freedom I’ve had in a vacation of break -neck springs to hot sand and away from my loves of a colder past. Rocks look fuzzy, but they scrape my belly. My nose tickles. My lung phlegm aches. If I exhale, I will have fewer seconds but I will feel calmer about it. Goggles on my left eye tight, yet the right eye is flooded. Microbes sneak between my lips as I turn up dust clouds in my search. Don’t breathe, I am not here to breathe, I’m here so my daughter stops holding her breath. So she can enjoy hot sand between her toes and never think that she’ll be an adult, or at least be this adult who hides from older flames until he chokes himself with cold to find this watch, it’s in my hand, wriggle up, cough, gulp again, I’m too small and it’s too far up, it’s past me I pass the bubbles and I Can Breathe.
I hold the watch up. My arm sways over the current. I spit fresh water. She hasn’t seen
me. She’s on the captain’s chair, she looks to the mountains, her knees together and
my towel around her. Those mountains are the same peaks I told her about when the
watch fell overboard. She doesn’t know how much she looks like her mother.
My legs ache, but I’ll pause. She’s on the verge of comfort.