For the first time I fell into a calm rhythm swimming in the ocean, crawling like an animal, unconscious except for the motion and the breathing. I practiced for a few weeks in a chlorinated pool after being a bad Aquarius for a lifetime. Now the salt water felt like helium. Time swooshed away, and I found myself a little bit too far for my level (I still suck). But I was already past midpoint. There was a flotilla a good distance away, but the coast was even farther. I float on my back to catch my breath and after a few rounds make it to the flotilla.

It’s a Truffaut scene, with screaming children and the impressionistically-silent French, and even though the black-and-white grain is amusing, I secretly worry about voyage de retour. After five minutes I jump back in. The beginning feels easy. Five minutes later my muscles scream “fuck stop.” For a fraction of a second I’m about to worry – how am I going to get out of here – but instead flip myself around again. Try to really calm down. Really calm down, dude. And this is what happened.

Capillary veins on a milky screen. A soft but intense light flooding from above. No other way to describe it: cocoon. The safest place in the universe. It doesn’t get safer than this, dog! I settle back. I don’t care about a potential embryo hallucination. I don’t care about anything outside of what ever this is. Under any circumstances, ever, is there a reason to worry about anything outside of here and now.A 5% logical stream kicks back in. Brain injecting itself with feel-good chemicals after calculating the survival odds? Applying standard embryo hallucination during exit phase? I really don’t care. Time goes on. Tick-tack-tock. A lot of activity going on outside of the womb, just too diffuse to make out what. Tick-tack-tock.I don’t zap out. I slide out. Open my eyes to check if I’m under the water. Nope. The muscles are back.

I turn around and complete the rest of the swim in one lap, another helium phase.

The rest of the day my eyes close sporadically and tune into the remnants of the soft light. I do this while talking to people a few times. They just want to close. Like now.