The challenge was easy then:dive off the boat at high tide, swim down, down till you touchthe white sand, then translatethe messages signaled from above. I remember sitting on the bottom,watching the greenish sun wobble or trade one shape for anotheruntil the sky became a watercolor map that only my cousin and I could decipher. Each wave made the thin paintshimmer, another wash of lightrippling across the canvas.Nothing looked the way it should, and sounds—like poorly aimed arrows— deflected off the surface. Yet when she leaned over the sideof the boat, arms waving like seaweed, I knew what she meant. Stay there. Go this way. I’m the queen. We didn’t need words, not when an invisible chain ran from boat to sand,a family secret that flowed throughour veins, an ancient script tattooed on our fingers, long before we were born.Soon enough my lungs would burnand I’d kick toward the surface,reclaiming the world of sound. Salt never stung, as I recall, until I broke through the swells. The sky is mine. I own the sun. Hold your breath, hold it. We understood metaphor then.
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