A Salve for the Soul Torvin ran down the beach with the fervency of a child pursuing a departing ice-cream truck. His legs slipped in the sand accentuating an already loose running style, his arms flailed beside him flapping the air as if seeking purchase for flight. At the water?s edge, he stuttered to a halt, skipping on his toes as a surge of water washed up further than its predecessor. The heat of the early summer sun was not felt in the water. The sand had been warm, pleasant underfoot, but the water was still icy cold, fed by long months of winter weather. Suddenly the desire to swim in the open water was tempered. He stood, either side of a threshold. From the ankles down the world was cold, almost icy. Above that, the sun was a warm salve, a cloak of rejuvenating vitality. Could he remove it by immersing himself in the ocean? Dare he? The water called him and he stepped forward. One step, two, three. The water edged up his ankles, over his knees. Now was the time for decisions. Commit to the cold, or paddle here for a few minutes before retreating up the beach. He sucked air in, fortifying himself for the shock to come, and dove into an oncoming wave. Coming out the other side he felt free. Doubt and fear had been abandoned. Cowardice had been left behind, sloughed away by a saline wash. Arm over arm he drove forward, the cold water biting through his skin, searing his blood, cauterizing the agony. With each stroke forward he forgot. Eventually, he was able to turn, to swim side on to the shore and strike for the distant jetty. Soon he was free, swimming with a grace unseen in his running.
by Clive Tern
11 | Ink In Thirds
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