jonathan and i lead the way into the water, jumping in off the side of the boat with less traffic and swam out a ways where we were met by andres and ashley shortly after. for the next hour, we all swam within close proximity of each other, the guys shared pointers on how to hold my breath, clear the pressure from my ears and how to go down and get deeper.
they spent their time between the space of the water’s surface and the sandy sea floor, chasing the creatures of the sea and creating videos. i spent my time floating with ashley in the choppy waters and testing out my lungs, anxiety and trust in myself to see how deep i could get below the water before panic or pressure set in too much for me to bare.
as the hour passed and we paddled in to get back on the boat and return to land, i felt a slight bit of disappointment to return to life again in the bit of reality that i had somewhat escaped for a few hours living as a being of the sea. some may not understand how you can instantly connect with a stranger, nor how you can instantly fall in love, but in this moment, as the 4 of us road back to our hotel in key west, sharing moment of silence mixed with jokes and laughter, i materialized how mere moments of freedom, trust and exploration are the binding points greater than any other connection created and registered these hours spend with this group of friends as magic.
it was in this moment that i really understood how some say that they cannot live without the ocean, and it was in this moment that i joined this bevy, mixed emotions of necessity and obsession for the salt that was caked in my hair and crusting off my skin to be a part of my regular routine.