Have you ever had a friendly crush?
Someone you meet one day, by chance and after 5 minutes, you might as well have grown up together.
I consider myself a bit lonely and gruff. It takes time to tame me but when I met Mitch, it was as if he had walked into the fortified enclosure of my friendship with all the keys. There was no resistance. One moment I’m ordering a drink at the bar next to a stranger, and exactly 4 minutes later I’m screaming with laughter at the table with my best friend. That was 8 years ago and since then, not a week has gone by without us seeing each other, nor a summer without us going on vacation together.
My wife Carole gets along very well with his girlfriend Stephanie and we see each other as one big family. Our children are like brothers and sisters. And incredible vacations, we took some, Hawaii, New Caledonia, the coral reef in Belize, the sea atoll in the Maldives…
You see the theme here, I’m an avid scuba diver and Mitch is my instructor. Every year we look for a place where we can leave our little family on the beach and where we can explore the depths of the ocean.
I made phenomenal progress with him. We are starting to make deep spots. This year we are going to Egypt, on the edge of Damascus on the Red Sea. We will dive in the Blue Hole, a 120 meter deep basin nicknamed the divers’ cemetery. Not a corner for beginners but I’m not stupid and I’ll have the best of the best with me, my old Mitch. So there is no danger.
Arrived on the spot, the show is up to par. We are floating on the bluest, most translucent water I have ever seen. The sea goes from bright turquoise to dark navy above the tank without losing its transparency.
Mitch reminds me of essential security measures and adds:
“Okay man, let’s go. I’ve been here before and I’m really not kidding, it’s sublime but extremely dangerous. If you walk away, there is a kind of arch at the bottom which is a death trap. Above all, you don’t even try to go there. I’ll be right behind you but we stay careful. »
His fatherly tone makes me laugh. I solemnly pledge to be his obedient little disciple and not to let go of his hand, then we get ready.
It’s like floating in space. I have never seen anything so beautiful. We have incredible visibility. I see other divers tens of meters away, small particles suspended in the rays of the sun and schools of fish passing like silver rockets around us.
Mitch has pulled out his amphibious camera and is taking pictures. As he bustles around the fish, I begin to circle a little wider, that’s when I see the light a little further down. There is a huge arch and sunlight filters through. This must be the thing Mitch was talking about. We are very close, I tell myself that I will move forward a little. While staying at a very careful distance, I swim for a while and stop to enjoy the breathtaking spectacle. It’s gigantic, I miss the adjectives. I find myself in front of what seems to be the entrance to another world.
Imagine being floating in the heart of darkness when suddenly, a monumental arch opens in front of you from which emanates a soothing blue light. It is an unreal spectacle. In width alone, it must be around 25m. I stare at her for a moment.
There is something that stands out from the place, a feeling of serenity, of fullness. It makes your head spin a bit. I hear something, it starts slowly, like harmonies in the dull rumbling of the water, a kind of musical breath that gradually increases in intensity, like an orchestra tuning up.
I don’t know if it’s a phenomenon related to the shape of the structure, but it’s absolutely incredible. This music from the depths makes me want to laugh with happiness while bringing tears to my eyes.
I know it’s not necessary but I want to get a little closer. I have air reserves that can last a little over an hour, I risk nothing as long as I stay at a distance. I walk a little further and the music becomes louder, more catchy. Do I hear someone sing? Sounds like a woman’s voice.
My reverie is interrupted by a repetitive noise above my head. I look and I see that Mitch is back up, he is very high above me and he seems to be tapping his knife on the side of his bottles. As if to get someone’s attention, he gestures. He must try to communicate with the group of divers from earlier. Maybe they are in the field of his photos.
It’s a bit painful to look up after long minutes staring at the soft light of the depths. The sun through the surface is like an unpleasant spot in the eyes, it hurts the head.
Well, I promised Mitch to be careful, I decide to check my monitor. The sun blinds me, I struggle a little, I feel dizzy. I finally reach the box which beeps continuously. I didn’t pay attention but on the screen there are big letters flashing:
G O U P
G O U P?
Goup? It means nothing ! “Goup” is the funniest thing I’ve seen in my life. Goop when I tell Mitch that…
I try to focus on the numbers, but they fly by and I still chuckle at “Goup.”
OK better go back up. I head towards the light, I swim quietly, but the current pushes me aside, it’s more and more painful. The opening seems to be shrinking more and more. It’s weird.
The music is still there, louder. In the light I finally see her, the one who sings. She is a woman, she is naked and extremely pale. Her long hair floats around her like a huge halo. She’s so beautiful it feels like my heart is going to implode. I feel my eyes swell with tears.
The current continues to pull me away from her, to the side. She holds out her hand, her eyes are sad, I start to panic. You shouldn’t panic. Panic drastically reduces oxygen stores.
Nothing make sense anymore. I realize that I, that I don’t think normally anymore. It’s getting harder and harder to fight. I feel like I’m swimming in thick mud and my aching brain is full of cotton wool.
I have a flash of lucidity, I activate the emergency button of my safety jacket to go back to the surface. I know it’s dangerous, that we have to take steps, but I will react in due time. For the moment the urgency is to go up quickly.
I hear the air filling my jacket but nothing happens. I don’t go back. The current continues to push me sideways. A shock ! I hit the side wall, I’m stuck against it. Holy shit, why won’t my jacket work? Why is there current in a closed basin?
I keep pressing the button with all my might
“Inflate you fucking inflate yourself! »
My monitor is screaming, I don’t recognize the sounds it is making. The screen flashes. The scrolling information might as well be written in Chinese. I do not understand anything anymore. The sound of air in my jacket slowed. I breathe harder and harder. I close my eyes.
” Nope “
I refuse to die like this. I think of Carole and the children. I want to find them. We have reserved a restaurant for this evening, there will be seafood, we will watch the sun go down before returning to the residence. Up close there is the sun, Up close there are people who love me. There is music, smells, life, what am I still doing here in the depths of darkness sleeping against stone?
In a last superhuman effort, I start kicking my legs as hard as I can. My muscles screaming in pain, I try to propel myself through this molasses. Each breath is more and more difficult, more and more painful. The sides of my field of vision darken. I scream in rage and frustration at my gear.
I hit the wall again. I am incapable of making the slightest gesture. I wait.
A faint blue glow appears. She approaches. God she is beautiful. How can she be so beautiful? She caresses my face.
I realize I’m not wearing my gear anymore. I’m naked too. I am breathing normally again. She opens her arms and I snuggle gratefully.
Mitch must have come back up now. He will explain to Carole, Everything will be fine. They can go to the restaurant without me. I’ll just rest a bit, just a minute or two and then I’ll join them. Everything will be alright. Everything will be alright.
With a big sigh, I close my eyes.